Any defamation lawyer with an expertise in online cybersmears knows how difficult navigating through a veritable mine field can be. Many of those who fight for online free speech insist that anyone being defamed can respond in our open marketplace of ideas and communications. But for doctors, that just isn't so. Because a federal law known as "HIPAA" prohibits them from discussing clients and their treatment. When a doc calls us, and wants to respond in a quality way to a prominent online complaint that is full of lies, it is hard to justify having to tell the doc as an online defamation lawyer with expertise in Internet defamation that he cannot respond.
It is an outrageous situation that needs to be corrected. Where is the marketplace of ideas if only one side can speak? If you are a physician, consider using a well crafted, customized patient non-disparagement provision in your treatment contract. Remember that HIPAA privacy provisions can be waived by contract. So when you call that defamation lawyer you'll at least have some leverage in negotiating a resolution with the patient or website. But be careful out there...some contracts are so one sided that the courts will likely not enforce them. A careful balance to protect yourself from online false attacks could be the cure.