Distraught over the loss of her husband, Robin Shwedo did the only thing she felt she could do all by herself, she started a blog on the hospital’s alleged malpractice per a story by Paul Swider of the St. Petersburg Times.
“It’s got to start somewhere. I thought at least I could start to get some of my thoughts down and have some people look at it.” She also hoped the blog would warn others.
There are risks to plaintiff’s starting a blog. Jacksonville lawyer Joseph Camerlengo, who is considering taking Shwedo’s case, especially since she got a letter from the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration confirming some of her allegations, believes people sometimes write something emotional that could undermine their case.
But blogs have proven to be effective in putting pressure on defendants. David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Visions, an Atlanta public relations agency that has helped plaintiffs blog to force action, told Swider about a blog about a young boy who lost his arm from poor hospital care getting so much attention the hospital settled out of court. Johnson also noted another case where a corporation sought to have a blog shut down because of its effectiveness in shaping public opinion.