Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The empire strikes back

Thanks to HealthPsych for this heads up. Petite Anglaise lives in Paris. This post has caused quite a stir. Apparently, this person was fired for blogging.
“I’m afraid I have called you here to tell you that I am obliged to terminate your employment with the firm.”

I sit.

My mouth forms a perfect “O” of astonishment.

“This is because of your internet site.”

Somehow he manages to make “internet” sound like an unspeakably filthy word.
It makes for an interesting read. It has definitely struck a nerve out there, because as of this writing, there are 241 comments, which will undoubtedly continue to rise. It definitely makes me reflect to past posts like this one or this one (oh yeah, I'm talking as if they were years ago -- but they were only within the past month). Is that darth vader I hear coming up behind me?


NeoNurseChic said...

My feeling on this is that even if you are anonymous, someone can still figure out who you are. That being the case, real patient stories still have to be disguised. Not sure if every anon doc poster does this or not, but I really believe that's the only safe way. Even though I originally started my blog to write about all things neonatal, the reason that I haven't been doing this at all is because of that same fear that I will do or say something inadvertantly that would cost me my job. Dr. Phillip Gordon, a neonatologist at Tales from the Womb, has a good take on it - he never blogs about patients he has seen in the last 2 years and always disguises all the details completely...changes gender, race, and any potentially identifiable details. Not sure if neonatal doc does this though because he is anon and has told many stories with a lot more flexibility since he's anonymous. Phill and I have said that since we're not anon, we have to be a lot more careful. Ever since Phill told me his method about not writing about those in the past 2 years and then on, I have sort of changed my own methodology. My baby stories now tend to be very very generalized and lack detail just for my own safety. I never would have written anything identifiable before, but what if my employer found my blog and THOUGHT I was writing about specific patients and fired me for that, even when I was, in fact, fictionalizing them? I guess I feel like you can never be too careful... Say one of your patients accidentally comes across this blog and then, even though you might be anon, says, "Woah! That's me!" Can that happen with your blog? If that's the case, then I would think hard about the anonymity factor and just how anonymous are we, in the end?

Take care!
Carrie :)

Cathy said...

Doctor A., I don't know how anyone could identify you. I'm sure there are other doc's where you live. Not only that, but some of these IP numbers never have the right city on them. My IP number has changed 3 times and every time it says I live in a different city. Not once has it had the correct town I actually live in. Close, but not correct.

Alot of people got worried I think when "Geek Nurse" had to shut down.
Then there is "Dr. Dork" who hasn't been heard of since the middle of April. No one knows for sure what happened to him.

Just change your stories around enough to make them not recognizable. I don't want you leaving, that's for sure.

NeoNurseChic said...

Yeah I second Cathy! No leaving!! That would seriously disrupt the harmony with blogaholics anonymous! ;)

Anonymous said...

PaedsRN from New Zealand was forcibly shut down in the same way ... I managed to salvage a large part of his blog from the Bloglines RSS feed when he vanished.

Everyone was a bit nervous for a while. We're all hoping he'll come back in a different skin ... *cough*

I haven't heard of it happening to anyone here in the states yet, but that doesn't mean anything.

Better safe ... than sorry.

Dreaming again said...

that's the advantage of being on the patient side one can fire me from being me ... although ... today I wish someone would fire the lupus!!!

I can blog all I want to, and not change anything :D even about other obnoxious patients in waiting rooms :D like I did yesterday

ipanema said...

That's why I don't blog when I'm in the office. I read but not post. I know we're monitored here. I am writing this in the office, lunch break. :) There was another story in UK the other day Dr. A, same one like Petite.

Cathy, same with me, although this is a small country, no one knows my IP at home cuz I'm using a router and it picks up some place translate it means And there's no place here in that name, even if you consult a map.

Mother Jones RN said...

My coworkers know about my blog, and I'm sure my boss does, too. If they give me grief about my writing, I'll quit my job. Life is too short, and I know I could find another job in no time at all.

The Domesticator said...

This certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone was fired for what they wrote on a blog…or even having a blog. The term ‘dooced” that petiteanglaise refers to comes from Heather Armstrong’s mommy blog site…she was fired for having a blog. Now, her blog is how she supports her family.

Dreaming again said...

been thinking about this all night ...someone fire my body ... I want a new one!