What can a doctor do to negative comments on the internet?
When choosing a medical specialist, there are many users who analyze the opinions of former patients about the doctor in order to decide which doctor to choose. Thus, the presence of negative opinions can not only affect the honor of the doctor, but also badly affect his professional reputation.
This article analyzes the most frequent questions about the medical servises in order to know how to act when there are negative comments.
Is the owner of the platform on which the negative content is placed responsible for its content in any case? What legal requirements are considered when analyzing responsibility?
Our legislation does not protect the owner of the platform, every time a doctor detects a negative comment about himself. This is based on the fact that eliminating a negative comment does not reflect reality and patients have the right to freedom of expression, whether negative or positive. In order to prove responsibility, the courts require proof of information truth.
In the past, the courts demanded proof of the veracity of information in the form of confirmation by official bodies. In other words, the veracity of this data must be confirmed by a court decision. However, this requirement is not necessary anymore, as the courts today understand that the comments can be so serious and rude that they cannot wait for a court decision. Thus, it will be liable if the comments are extremely serious and rude related to an obvious and obvious threat to the honor of the doctor, or if there is a court decision that confirms the illegality of this information.
We must remember, however, that a negative comment does not automatically make it manifest, as obvious and serious interference. As an example, the Supreme Court considered as a serious commentary that compared the results of medical research with Nazi experiments in Nazi Germany. Therefore this comment is qualified as serious and rude.
What is the limit between the freedom of expression of the patient and th protection of doctor`s honour and dignity?
Both rights are qualified as fundamental in our Constitution. They tend to collide with each other since freedom of speech tends to free expression of thought, but at the same time the right to honor limits it. The Constitutional Court has repeatedly reported this conflict, indicating that the predominance of one over the other will depend on each specific case and the courts will be able to consider rightness by each of the parties.
In case when the patient left negative comments about the doctor, the Supreme Court would be inclined to favor the freedom of expression. Thus, the patient is free to express his opinions, whether favorable or unfavorable for a professional. Nevertheless, the tone and meaning of manifestations will be considered, therefore, if the court assesses the damage, defamation or humiliation of the doctor’s honor, without proven content, this will be considered illegal and the court will be on the side of the doctor.
What can the doctor do in this situation?
- If you received a negative comment: it is recommended to clarify the specific situation, referred to by its author and tell about it on the same site where negative comment was posted.
- If the comment harms your reputation and is badly reflected on you, and the information is not truthful: ask the platform to remove the comment, because your right to honor is beyond freedom of expression.
- If the platform ignores you: initiate a trial in which you request the removal of negative information or comment, including the editor’s responsibility of web site for maintaining the publication, even after being informed of the violation.
- Finally: you can hire World Delete services; it is often faster, more efficient and more confidential than any of the previous items.