A story in Sunday’s Boston Globe about Gary Votour, who wrote a blog post about his frustration with the care provided to his wife following a surgery during which she suffered a stroke, has prompted some strong debate among readers. Liz Kowalczyk of the Globe staff wrote that Votour issued an “open letter” online to the surgeon after the doctor declined a request to meet with him. She writes:
Last month, the surgeon, Dr. Sagun Tuli, sued Votour and the owner of the website for defamation in Middlesex Superior Court, demanding $100,000 for the damage she said the blog post had done to her career. Her lawyer, David Rich of Boston, said Votour’s blog popped up on the first page of Google search results for Tuli, who now works at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham. Votour has since removed the blog post.
“It’s difficult to believe we have a legal system that allows people to be sued for expressing their grief,’’ Votour said in an interview.
The Digital Media Project at Harvard University tracks cases in which patients were similarly sued for writing negatively online about providers. In some, Kowalczyk writes, the patients removed their negative comments. In others, judges found that the writing was protected by the patient’s right to free speech.
Dozens of readers have commented on the story, mostly about how Votour’s actions reflect on the health care system. Reader djm71 had this analysis:
That is just a beginning list. It could keep going for pages.
Marjalo offered condolences to Votour, and added this:
Here’s a different take from Ronin555:
As far as her lack of empathy, physicians are required to see hundreds of patients every week. That’s a lot of empathy to be expected to dole out.
Join the discussion on BostonGlobe.com.Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy.