Social Media Is Not the Place to Ask for Legal or Medical Advice

Seems many people nowadays are not only posting their medical history online for all to see, but they are also seeking legal and medical advice from those same social connections. And, expecting that advice to help them overcome some problem they or a loved one is experiencing.

Most lawyers will never respond to these types of postings as it could be construed as offering legal advice. Doctors and nurses as well are also instructed not to respond as their advice could create a conflict and potentially set them up for a malpractice lawsuit.

And yet, people still post their medical and legal inquiries online for all to see in hopes someone will give them some validation as to what they are doing or about to do is the correct way.

The below post was copied from a prominent social sharing platform and although all attempts were made to remove names, locations and private information…the original poster did not do so.

“[Calling all my nursing, doctor and legal friends – advice needed]

My daughter had an 8mm kidney stone about 3 weeks ago. Went to Hospital 1 in pain. Hospital 1 was full so they transported her to Hospital 2. Hospital 2 ended up putting a stent in after the stone came out. That was about 3 weeks ago. In the meantime, the last week – 10 days she has been in real pain with the stent. Stent was supposed to come out after xx # of days after it was put in but there were no appointments available. When she called to make an appointment to have it removed, they told her the first ‘opening’ to have it out was another week. Almost 2-3 weeks after it was to initially come out. Fast forward to about a week ago and she was in such discomfort and pain. She called and called to get answers (almost daily) but never got a return call. I finally got so fed up that I called around and left a message with a gal who answered who was going to call the urologist on call to have them call me back so we could get some answers as to what the heck the holdup was, she was in severe. The urologist on call never called me or her back – again. Fast forward AGAIN and she finally couldn’t take it anymore and went to the ER around 7:30. She’s in a room now and it seems the stent is all infected and it’s no wonder she’s in pain. Now they want to admit her. She’s having a mental breakdown because she just got this new job she loves and they have been great but with another hospital admittance = more time off even though it can’t be helped and she doesn’t want to get fired. But more importantly: can you please advise on what to say and to whom to get some ACTION. The urologist on call for the night (not sure if this is the same doctor who was supposed to call us back or not?) is apparently at Hospital 3 doing rounds or whatever and is going to stop over to see her and decide whether to admit her? She is on her way to get a cat scan done to see how bad the infection is and to see whether she should be admitted, which she doesn’t want if possible. She just wants the dang thing out and to get/feel better. I mean seriously? She’s called for days and when she DID get someone on the phone BEGGED them to get her in earlier because she was so uncomfortable, peeing blood and no one would even see her let alone move the time up to remove the stent which by next week would have been 2-3 weeks over due to come out? (I honestly can’t wrap my head around all this and she is SO FRUSTRATED.) I’m feeling helpless and we would both appreciate ANY legal advice on what to say and to whom to get someone to PAY ATTENTION to her and to get this thing out of her. We would both much appreciate it.”

That’s a lot of information to unpack from that post. And, you can definitely understand the frustration that she and her daughter were going through. How much of that post was truthful? How much was exaggerated? That’s the problem with airing your stories on social media… you only get the information that is shared by one party. The post did however garner dozens of comments with the majority stating for her to seek out an attorney.

Three Things That YOU Should Remember About Social Media

1. What you post about is not private.

2. Anything you post is often still available to those who know where to look (even after you delete it and think it’s gone).

3. Information you share is increasingly being used against people in legal matters.

But for those who like to share every detail of their lives on social media, here’s what we suggest…

· Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want a judge to see.

· Don’t post anything that reveals private information about another person.

· Don’t post anything that shows you acting irresponsible.

Patient complaints should always be brought first to the doctor or medical provider. If the doctor or medical provider fails to rectify the complaint, then it’s wise to contact an attorney who will let you know if your case has merit.

Posting yours or a loved one’s hospital story online is not the best way to seek advice. And, in fact, could lead to the hospital (or hospitals) mentioned in your post to seek a lawsuit against you for defamation.

The Law Offices of David W. Holub is a personal injury law firm located in Merrillville, Indiana, focused on providing efficient and effective client-centered representation. Our mission is to provide top quality legal representation, which includes an uncompromising pursuit of our client’s legal interests, while being accessible and attentive to our clients during times of personal challenge.

The firm concentrates in personal injury cases of all types, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation. We work tirelessly to serve each client aggressively and with empathy, to communicate regularly and clearly, and to obtain prompt and favorable results, while adhering to the highest standards of excellence and integrity. Our team considers it a high honor to be called upon to serve our clients whom we often come to regard as our friends. Call our number (219)736-9700 for assistance today.

*If you would like to learn more about personal injury law, we encourage you to listen to our Personal Injury Primer Podcast where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law. And read “Fighting For Truth: A Trial Lawyer’s Insight Into What It Takes To Win” an entertaining and enlightening book pulling readers into the courtroom giving them a glimpse of the legal process and what it takes to win at trial.

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