The Chaos of Medicine: Vulnerable

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Today I found an email in my inbox. It seemed normal, guessing by the title and sender, but I did not know the sender. I opened the email and found a very offensive photo with a text that's just... creepy. Even if I would desire to share its contents, I'm pretty sure that's illegal.

But that's not the worst part. It was adressed to all students of my school, and there was a discussion going on on Facebook. At least five teachers were jokingly mentioned as potential senders of the email. I was (and still am) shocked. How could someone do that? It also made me realize once more how vulnerable everyone is since the invention of internet. There's no way to reach over 200 people by letter in one night. Still, as opposed to with conversations, information is saved much too easily. These are teachers who did not ask to be online and certainly did not ask to be accused of sending these horrible emails. I sincerly hope that the sender of the email and the people rudely accusing teachers will be punished.

So why am I sharing this here? I'm not sure. I guess in a way (being completely egocentric, I know) I realize how vulnerable I am, purposely writing about myself on a blog, for everyone who wants to read about it. I did make a very conscious decision to remain anonymous and still blog as if everyone knew who I am, but still. Only one person has to find out your real identity and do the wrong thing and a lot of people know who you are. Your co-workers. Your future boss. What I am writing now might be totally inappropriate in ten years so I do wish to remain anonymous. Or am I overly concerned? I do of course keep in mind patient confidentiality and I only write about what I don't mind telling virtually anyone.

I would like to ask my current 3,5 readers (I love your support!) a question. How do you think about blogging and anonimity? Do you worry about your blog affecting your life in negative ways? What do you think about privacy and social media in general? Please leave a comment below!


  1. I really enjoy your blog! I try only to write things which would be okay with my med school & people I know, although it would be more interesting if I had more personal reflection in there. I think yours has a good balance in that respect. Hope that nasty emailer is found out soon- what an awful thing to do to all of you.

  2. I have no clue what that email could have been... I guess I'll just use my imagination.

    I would imagine that your identity can be a problem depending on the job you choose to do. I'm a bad example of anonymity. You can find me everywhere including photos and all sorts of things...

    You can test with the following link, you'll notice that I cover quite a few pages on Google Search (something like 8 pages last time I checked):

    There are doctors who are quite well known in their country and even some world wide. So I guess that even in medicine you can be a public figure. At the same time, at the beginning of your career you may want to be quite cautious.