Can I get into any legal trouble if I publish a letter in newspapers or in handouts telling how I was severely and permanently injured during a surgical procedure...even if I didn't win a medical malpractice case? It would just be me telling my true story with all the facts...to help other people who are considering surgery, and what to look out for...I want to include the name of the doctor who injured me...yet make it clear that he was not PROVEN negligent.
2 Answers from Attorneys
You have a right to tell others about your experience, and your dissatisfaction with the outcome, whether or not there has been a legal finding of malpractice. Where you have to be very careful is to avoid making any representations that cannot be proven to be true. If you have an opinion, you need to represent it as an opinion, not as objective fact.
Your free speech rights generally allow you to say what you believe to be true, as long as you make clear what is only your belief, and what is objectively verifiable. Intentional or reckless misrepresentations are not protected in the same way. You can honestly describe your observations, feelings, experiences and such, along with objectively verifiable information. You should make it clear which information is your feelings and observations, and which information is objectively verifiable.
You should be careful about singleing out this particular doctor, unless this doctor does something differently from the rest of the medical community. Unless you have some verifiable evidence that your surgery would have been performed differently by another doctor, don't represent that somehow this particular doctor was responsible for your undesireable result.
That said, it is very helpful for those considering surgery to hear about the experiences of others who have gone through the surgery. Frequently, medical providers emphasize the benefits of procedures. Pain and side effects are frequently under-emphasized by medical providers because they are taken for granted as part of the procedure. Thus, hearing about such things from other patients is usually helpful for those considering a procedure.
I think you could give a factual interpretation of what happened without placing blame on anyone.