All medical-malpractice cases should start on the Internet, before any medical records are obtained and before any other discovery from the hospital. At a minimum, the Internet contains much information about the basic medical issues in any case, including anatomy, physiology, treatment options, survival statistics, and other information that can provide a focus for the case. The Internet cannot answer the critical questions of negligence and causation. Even when there are specific Websites that purport to discuss standard of care or causation issues, all such information is hearsay and therefore inadmissible. The corporate attorneys are required to carry out tasks in the company and they will give you all details about business.
In addition to information about some of the medical issues involved in the case, the Internet can provide much information about the defendant hospital, medical group, and/or individual doctor. Most hospitals and major medical groups have Web sites that provide information about the services they offer to the public and the relationships which they have with each other. Larger groups like Kaiser or hospital chains like Sutter or CHW also have educational materials and medical information either on their Web site or through links. Kaiser has its own medical journal, which is accessible through either the Internet or by subscription. Even individual physicians have Web sites that are used for advertisement purposes and some of the rep-resentations made on their Websites can be used against them in a specific case.
What is generally not available on the Internet, except through Web sites like Pubmed or specific medical journals, is the vast amount of articles that constitutes the “medical literature.” Most of the individual Websites on specific medical topics are developed by specific hospital departments or educational groups that seek to provide medical information to the public. Pubmed, which is the official Web site of the National Institutes of Health, does provide access to all of the articles in the medical literature, but there may be thousands of articles on a particular topic and it can be difficult to find a specific article that may be both relevant and useful to your case.
Whenever the medical literature becomes an issue in a medical-malpractice case, it is far better to have the plaintiff’s expert find and use the relevant literature that supports their opinion, rather than the attorney attempting to provide the research for the expert.
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