The Role of Social Media in a Medical Malpractice Case

Published on October 12th, 2018

social media medical malpracticeSocial media has become a tricky dance for healthcare organizations as they navigate this method of communication. Recklessly using the likes of Facebook and Twitter to disseminate information can cause problems for healthcare professionals. But, just as important, unwise social media use can jeopardize a patient’s medical malpractice case against a hospital or doctor.

The Danger of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals

At one time, having a website was essential for a business to establish themselves as legitimate and reliable. Now, websites are a requirement if you want anyone to take you seriously, and social media is under that umbrella, especially for hospitals and doctors.

Social media is being used by healthcare professionals to discuss public health, serve as a healthcare resource, and improve patient communication. Unfortunately, poorly administered or integrated social media can be problematic for some doctors, hospitals, and medical outlets, and even lead to a medical malpractice case.

Patients often develop a first impression of a hospital or physician before they meet in person thanks to social media. Patients also use social media to do research about their health and make healthcare decisions independent of the information given to them under a doctor’s care.

Think about it: How often have you had a health issue and googled the symptoms? Trying to diagnose yourself before seeing a doctor is a common practice, as is looking for legitimate advice online from a certified healthcare professional. Getting poor-quality advice online – or incorrectly interpreting the information provided online – and claiming to have been harmed by information from a particular health professional or organization could be enough to lead to a medical malpractice claim.

Are You Ruining Your Medical Malpractice Case with Social Media?

Social media is one of the easiest ways to communicate with your social group at large. If an injury or trauma has taken place, it is may be natural to post about it for all your friends and acquaintances to read or see. However, even the most seemingly innocent piece of information can negatively affect a medical malpractice case.

Consider this: You have filed a personal injury lawsuit claiming that you suffered a bodily injury because of a doctor’s negligence, but you post a picture of yourself rock-climbing, or a friend posts a picture of you hiking happily together, implying that you are not hurt. Your claim can be refuted based on how someone interprets the activity evident in your social media posts.

Any social media details can be used as evidence against you in a medical malpractice trial. Even if your social media accounts are set to private, there is no guarantee that this privacy will hold during the defendant’s fact-gathering search for a medical malpractice case. Quite often, the best course of action is to deactivate social media accounts until your lawsuit is complete so personal information, past or present, cannot be used against you.

Understand Medical Malpractice with Help from Your Michigan Personal Injury Lawyer

For healthcare groups, social media should be about establishing their entity as a trustworthy thought leader and source of information. If you have suffered because of a healthcare professional’s or organization’s social media advice and information, schedule a consultation with the medical malpractice attorneys at Thurswell Law to discuss your situation. We do not charge any fees unless you collect. Call (248) 354-2222 today.

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