The Pluses And Perils Of Patients Grading Doctors On The Internet

DIE WELT (Germany)


More and more Germans have taken to grading doctors online on everything from quality and effectiveness of treatment received to friendliness, writes Die Welt. Medical evaluation sites have been proliferating in Germany over the last five years, and there are now more than 20. All of them contain evaluations by -- and sometimes the opinions of -- patients.

Sometimes the sites ask patients to fill out a questionnaire. Questions posed by the sites include such issues as waiting times to get an appointment as well as in the waiting room, performance of the team, relationship to the doctor, in addition to the quality of medical services.

Doctors can only get criticism removed from the site if they can prove that the patients’ claims are wrong. A Nuremberg court recently ruled that those running the portals have a duty to check the veracity of claims and ask for substantiating documentary evidence in the case of doubt. Removing opinion can be a dicey matter, however, as the right to an opinion is protected by law.

Some sites prefer to avoid problems and don’t give users the option to express opinions, limiting options to a questionnaire. Automatic filters check for offensive language, and sites need to make sure that none of the claims by users are libelous.

Some of the downsides of the sites include inadequate separation of patient opinion and, for example, paid spaces where doctors can advertise – so that those consulting the site might mistake an ad for patient input. Another issue is a site run by a group of 10 insurance companies that only publish negative feedback about doctors if they receive it from 10 patients or more.

Some patients are discouraged from sending input because of the amount of personal information – including their health insurance number – that is required to register.

Medical lawyer Katri Lyck believes that patients will with time “start to trust the recommendations and evaluations they find on the Internet the way they trust family and friends’ opinions now.”

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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