I am forever hearing the adage, “Any publicity is good publicity” or “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” This has been grounded into my head as a business owner for as long as I can remember. My interpretation of this statement is that it means that any attention is better than no attention. It implies that even if something is deemed bad, wrong, incorrect or immoral, it only draws more attention to it as a sort of forbidden fruit, somehow making it even more desirable. I just don’t think that this is universally applicable.
It may work in the case of a movie star or a rock musician. We hear something potentially unfavorable about them and it intrigues us and makes us want to know more. This increased interest is basically risk free because these people are not likely to impact our lives in any significant way. They are just on a screen or a concert stage that we watch to escape real life for awhile. If they turn out to be a terrible person, so what? We can choose not to watch their movies or concerts or continue to do so with no real consequence either way. On top of that, they probably don’t really care one way or the other what we think. They don’t really need to.
The exact opposite is true for me in the medical field. If someone leaves a bad review for me on Google or Health Grades or worse yet, makes a terrible comment on one of my social media posts, I just can’t see that bringing me any sort of attention that I would actually want. I am fortunate in that this happens rarely, but when it does, I can’t stop thinking about it. I find myself researching who the individual might be and even attempt to reach out to see what I can do to remedy the situation or ease their pain, even if I realize that I have never actually seen the person. This happens all too often. After extensive research I realize that I have no record of this person and yet it still haunts me. These kind of hurtful reviews or comments do not achieve anything productive that I can think of. In fact, depending on the vulnerability of my current patient population, it can potentially affect their perception of me as well. There are people that truly take in whatever is in print as fact, without questioning it’s validity. The initial questions that are raised by these types of feedback can potentially cause ripples of unease that can spread through patients like wildfire. No good can come of that. No one wants to hear something bad about their doctor…ever. You have to have complete trust in someone who is so intimately involved in your life. You have everything to lose and nothing to gain by entrusting a potentially bad or dangerous physician. No one finds themselves seeking some infamous physician who botched a procedure just because they saw them on Dateline or something. It just doesn’t work that way. Have a great day everyone.