I discovered to my dismay that FP Mama, that inimitable raconteur of birthing dramas, has gone offline, like too many of my favorite physician bloggers lately (Barb Butterfly and Dr. Flea, to name a few). I’ll miss her dedication to natural births and successful avoidance of medical intervention when safely possible.

Undoubtably, this is due to concern about privacy issues. Scalpel some days back posted an interpretation of HIPAA as it applies to physician blogging. My conclusion was that if patient identifiers (name, age, unique characteristics, location, time) are adequately disguised/altered, there should be no legal issues. Which is not to say no issues with the boss.

For myself, perhaps it’s paranoia, but I’m realizing that the pool of new interns is not that big, and anyone who wanted to could probably figure out my identity pretty easily. I’m not going to give it away on purpose, or quit, but I’m going to try very hard not to use this for as much of an outlet for my thoughts on the attendings as perhaps I have done. As for patients, I think I have and will continue to change the chronology and details enough to maintain privacy. (And since I don’t know how to post radiology images even if I wanted to, no problems there.)

Besides, for me this blog is about more than medicine, so I’m not ready to give up on it yet. But if it suddenly disappears, you’ll know why.

(Also I want to say that, unlike some others in this special internet community, I don’t resent these pressures. I’m sorry to miss friends from whom I learned a lot – I was counting on Barb’s tips for interns for this next year – but we are different from other bloggers. We are professionals, and we have responsibilities and commitments that are perhaps more onerous than others’. We knew the job was dangerous when we took it. Perhaps it was asking too much to be able to vent and communicate this freely.)

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