Before You Post That Negative Medical Review…

Did you have a bad experience with a medical provider? Are you itching to tell the world about the incident?

Using social media applications to evaluate a medical service provider may help others avoid a bad experience. However, before you vent your feelings about a medical professional to the World Wide Web, here are a few points for you to consider.

Medical practitioners depend on their professional reputation. If you post a negative online review, the practitioner may sue you.

Unfortunately, telling the truth does not prevent you from an accusation of libel. Even if you’re right and you post a truthful negative review, if the provider sues you, you can win the battle but lose the litigation war. Medical firms like hospitals keep lawyers on retainer. You probably don’t.

Keep in mind, doctors and other medical practitioners walk a thin line between a patient’s medical privacy online and defending themselves against a negative online review.

Still, you may want to complain and may have a legitimate concern to express. Here are some ways that may help you feel heard while lessening your risk of litigation.

Call the doctor’s practice manager and discuss your complaints. The manager may support your complaint, helping to ensure the doctor addresses your concerns.

If your complaint involves conditions at a hospital, then your state’s department of health services or your state medical board may investigate your concerns.

If your practitioner is a Medicare provider, contact the Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization at You can file a complaint regarding most aspects of your treatment, including the doctor, hospital, or even durable medical equipment (DME) such as respirators, wheelchairs, and the suture removal kits used for wound care.

If you feel you must use social media to complain, wait until your initial anger subsides. Ask a neutral friend to review your post before you go live.