Gagged by the Doctor - NBC New York

Gagged by the Doctor

Some M.D.s are requiring patients sign "no Internet" contracts

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gagged by the Doctor
    Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images
    Some doctors are giving their patients a bit more paperwork: a contract that keeps them from commenting Internet about their care.

    Want to give your doctor a rating, and tell it to the world?  

    There are dozens of Web sites that let you do just that.   But can you trust what other patients are saying?  And if the criticisms are false, what can doctors do to save their reputations?

    Some doctors are fighting back. 

    A company called Medical Justice Services offers contracts for doctors to give to patients.  The contracts forbid patients from giving any bad reviews on the Internet.  Internet rating services call them gag orders. 

    At least one law professor said such contracts aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

    The bottom line:  Before you give or accept advice about a doctor on the Internet, try to find out if the Web site itself checks to see if the identities of the patients are true.  You should also look to see if the site notifies doctors when they get a negative review, and offers them a space to reply.