Published on March 5, 2009 | by LawNews
Prof. Leon Friedman in Newsday
Leon Friedman, Joseph Kushner Distinguished Professor of Civil Liberties Law, was quoted in the following Newsday article.
Concern on doctor contracts that limit patient comments
By Jennifer Barrios
March 5, 2009
Doctors and legal experts on Long Island and beyond have expressed concern at an emerging trend of doctors requiring patients to sign legal contracts prohibiting them from discussing their care online.
The contracts, known as “mutual privacy agreements,” aim to keep patients from unfairly attacking their doctors in blogs or on ratings Web sites, such as RateMDs.com. But Hofstra University law professor Leon Friedman said the concept of restraining patients’ speech in this way is problematic.
“Professionals like doctors and lawyers should not limit the scrutiny that the public has into their activities,” Friedman said, adding he thought courts would be reluctant to enforce such contracts. “I think we want to know how good a doctor or a lawyer is, and the whole idea that before I will treat you, you have to promise to keep everything quiet, I think it goes against the whole notion of professional responsibility.”
About 100 doctors in the metropolitan area use the waivers, according to Dr. Jeffrey Segal, founder of Medical Justice, a Greensboro, N.C.-based group that sells contracts to doctors.