The world of medicine is like a bubble. A lot of people THINK they know what goes on there, but unless you're down in the trenches it's unlikely you do. So here is my semi-anonymous blog, here to tell you what really goes on in the life of a medical resident.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Death of a Flea

Dr. Couz is in mourning today. I recently learned, along with the rest of the medical blogosphere, that Dr. Flea's Blog is now defunct. Gone. Dead webspace. No forwarding address. No goodbye.

Flea earned my undying admiration with his series on vaccines around the time that he made the mistake of messing with some of the less rational fringe of the anti-vaccination movement. Several of his posts collected 80 to 100 comments before they tired of the game. Rather than fighting the impossible fight (you can't debate a subject like vaccination with people who believe that peer-reviewed evidence is biased and false but that alternative websites are the word of God) the Flea chose to educate. He posted a brilliant series of posts, each dealing with a different vaccine-preventable disease. He covered diptheria, polio, HiB, mumps... many diseases that people don't have a good understanding of today in a well-written series that I now wish I had saved somewhere. Flea was one of the first bloggers in my blogroll, and I don't have the heart to remove him yet.

I know that Flea was in the middle of a malpractice trial. There had been some recent debate over whether or not he was blogging in real time, or if this was a trial that has long passed. Based on the sudden disappearance of his blog, I think it was likely the former.

First Barbados Butterfly was pressured by the hospital she worked for to remove her blog. Then Vitamin K was outed, and converted her blog to invitation-only. And now the Flea.

I can only hope this is a temporary hiatus.


Blogger Xavier Emmanuelle said...

Fat Doctor is gone now too. :(

1:43 PM

Anonymous Tamara said...

I saw that Flea's blog was gone the other day and I was quite disappointed. I quite enjoyed the vaccine series after you recommended it. I learned a good bit and certainly won't forget my tetanus shot again!

6:06 PM

Blogger Clerk said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:22 PM

Blogger medstudentitis said...

Flea and now Fat Doctor. What's the blogworld coming to.

I tagged you for a meme.

6:28 PM

Blogger Clerk said...

Oh No!

Such a sad, non-orange page greeted me when I tried to find Flea, after reading your post.

No more "Fingers and Tubes", no more from VitaminK (that blog had the BEST name in the blog-o-sphere). "The Big Sleep" departed.... and "Fat Doctor" is gone too! Soon FIFE-me will be going invitation-only as well!

I'm starting to get nervous staying online.

RIP, fellow medical bloggers.
I will miss you all!

6:29 PM

Blogger Dr. J. said...

It's an interesting situation, and in some ways makes me glad that my blog has always been non-anonymous. I don't think there's anything wrong with anon. blogs, but having my picture at the top of my blog for all to see has certainly curtailed any prediliction I might have to rant, and has forced my blog in other (I hope interesting) directions.
From time to time I do see things in the medical blogs that make me wonder about maintainance of confidentiality, but overall I think that most people's blogs are thoughtful and sensitive. It's troubling that they seem to be an endangered species....

6:46 PM

Blogger Couz said...

Finger and Tubes is still actively blogging. He posted yesterday.

But both Flea and Fat Doctor will be sadly missed.

Those people e-mailing me hoping to reach Vitamin K-- I've been dutifully forwarding requests to her, but she's understandably gun-shy after being outed at work. I don't know if she's granting anyone she doesn't know IRL access to her blog.

6:46 PM

Anonymous frectis said...

Darn. I was wondering what happened with VitK as I loved it. I hope you'll be able to stay around.

12:55 AM

Blogger scutmonkey said...

Just like high school, vilify those that are different or that stray from the company line. Why is there no transparency in our profession and why is it that those that try to bring a little less opacity are persecuted? (of course, these are rhetorical questions that we all know the answers to, it is just disappointing)

3:08 AM

Anonymous jojo said...

What?! I'm very sad to hear about this. :( And I'd been wondering what happened to Vitamin K. That sucks.

10:52 AM

Blogger ObGynThoughts said...

One defense against employer pressure: Open your own practice!
You will be happier, you will have something to sell when you decide to retire, you will be in charge, nobody can tell you how many patients to see and when and how to bill and when to take days off and vacations, etc. And nobody can tell you to shut your blog down!

1:17 PM

Blogger TheBrummell said...

This is a disturbing trend, if the number of doctor's blogs shutting down from outside pressure is increasing.

Is there some particular feature of the medical profession that makes running a blog very difficult?

I didn't think Flea was publishing personal details about his patients.

7:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that Fat Doctor is back up and blogging.

Flea was blogging in real time, the trial was what outed him and it's a sad end to a great blog.

7:23 PM

Blogger student dr. blaze said...

I don't know what the laws are in Canada, but I got the impression that Flea was writing in the US--isn't he protected by the first amendment? How come so many blogs by health professionals are disappearing? This is a disappointing trend, to say the least... Is there any way for us to "rally around" our fellow bloggers who are being persecuted in this way? I feel like there should be some way to show support...

I'm really glad you're still blogging, Dr.Couz. Please keep up the great posts! :-)

6:21 AM


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