Have you ever “Googled” yourself? If you haven't, try it. The results may surprise you. Simply type your name into Google or another search engine, hit search, and see what pops up. Not all of it is pretty.
I first learned this lesson as a resident when one afternoon I was asked to see the chairman. Not surprisingly, he wasn't asking me to join him for a cup of coffee. The university had notified him that a patient I saw in clinic the previous week had reported that I was abusive during an “aggressive” rectal exam. After reviewing my clinic note, all that I remembered about the encounter was that I had found a nodule on his prostate.
To my chairman's credit, he supported me and the issue disappeared, or so I thought. Many months later, a different patient in a different clinic asked me about the incident. At first, I was confused, wondering how this person could know of the encounter. The answer was that he had read about it on vitals.com, a physician rating site.
For those not familiar with them, websites such as vitals.com, healthgrades.com, and numerous others allow patients to anonymously "rate" physicians. Later that day, I read the review that had been posted, and I was shocked. (The review is still online at vitals.com if you want to read it yourself.) Even worse, when I contacted the website to ask if I could respond to the review or have it removed, the answer was no. I was told that unless I could provide documentation that the report was false, vitals.com would not remove the review.
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