Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Grand Rounds is hosted by Dr.Wes

Dr.Wes, the (a)musing cardiologist and electrophysiologist from Chicago, hosts this week's Grand Rounds (vol.4, no.29) with a decidedly cardiac theme. As my first time to submit to Grand Rounds, I'm thrilled that Dr.Wes included my post regarding Provigil's (non)Assistance Program.

Also, you must read about Kathleen Seidel, a blogger from New Hampshire who discusses issues surrounding autism at Neurodiversity.com.

Legal thuggery is sure to make a medical blogger's heart stop. Eric Turkowitz over at New York Personal Injury blog links to the buzz created by New Hampshire blogger Kathleen Seidel of Neurodiversity.com, and her remarkable post entitled "The Commerce in Causation." Ms. Seidel is a level-headed, well-researched citizen-journalist who has tirelessly investigated the pediatric medical research conducted by Rev. Lisa Sykes, Mr. Clifford Shoemaker, and their colleague Dr. Mark Geier; their efforts to compel removal of mercury-containing antimicrobials from FDA-approved vaccines; and their "judicial advocacy" campaign.

After sharply criticizing Shoemaker's legal incentives, she received a subpoena within four hours from Mr. Shoemaker, the plantiffs' council, demanding "bank statements, cancelled checks, donation records, tax returns, Freedom of Information Act requests, LexisNexis® and PACER usage records. The subpoena demands copies of all of my communications concerning any issue which is included on my website, including communications with representatives of the federal government, the pharmaceutical industry, advocacy groups, non-governmental organizations, political action groups, profit or non-profit entities, journals, editorial boards, scientific boards, academic boards, medical licensing boards, any 'religious groups (Muslim or otherwise), or individuals with religious affiliations,' and any other 'concerned individuals.'...."

Not intimidated, Ms. Seidel subsequently filed this well-targeted motion to quash the subpoena. It's an incredible story exposes the underbelly of a potential new legal tactic that could be imposed against bloggers anywhere: issuing malicious subpoenas to quell bloggers' free speech.

More likely, as Orac points out in his "important rant," Ms. Seidel will be vindicated by a Streisand effect.

I had given little thought to the possibility that records related to (and unrelated to) my blog might be subpoenaed for any legal reason. It somehow indicates the increasing power and influence which individual bloggers are gaining in the world of citizen-journalism.

Cool but not cool simultaneously.


  1. Gee, the fact that bloggers can have record subpoenad makes freedom of speech seem like a thing of the past.

  2. Thanks for commenting on the Seidel subpoena.

    I am one of the 100+ bloggers mentioned in item 5 of the subpoena.

    I am keeping a running list of responses to the Seidel subpoena at I Speak of Dreams. I've added your blog.