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Observations Medicine and the media

Patients' blogs—do doctors have anything to fear?

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 27 September 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:645
  1. Matthew Hurley, senior house officer, paediatric intensive care unit, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham (,
  2. Craig Smith, consultant neonatologist, neonatal intensive care unit, Nottingham University Hospitals (

    Blogs written by parents about their sick children's condition and treatment can be beneficial if handled sensitively. Matthew Hurley and Craig Smith point out the pitfalls to avoid

    In recent months we have had very different experiences of parents using blogs. One family used a blog simply to update family and friends overseas about their extremely premature baby. It contained a daily record of events, including details of procedures and the names of staff looking after their baby. In another blog the parents of a baby with rare congenital abnormalities used it to keep detailed records of medical care and decisions, including discussions and disagreements with different medical and nursing staff. Both blogs initially caused some concern among staff.

    The phenomenon of parents' blogs may have a unique association with paediatric and neonatal practice. It is common practice for parents to take photographs of their babies to log their progress. Electronic dissemination makes sharing these experiences easier, and for many the blog is simply the modern …

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