Doctor Sues Patient for Writing Negative Review of His Services He Claims Was Defamatory
A Seattle surgeon is suing a woman who posted an unflattering review of his services to Yelp, claiming that her comment's were defamatory and has hurt his business and reputation.
Dr. Alan Brown, who is acting as his own attorney, claimed in his suit that Wendy Wester made “numerous false and malicious claims” in her review, which said the orthopedic surgeon failed to diagnose her knee injury after she was hurt skiing, SeattlePI.com reported.
Wester reportedly met with Brown in February 2013 at the Overlake Hospital emergency room and at his office for a follow-up appointment.
She wrote a negative review of his services on June 3, 2014 on the consumer ratings website Yelp, claiming that Brown diagnosed her injury as an MCL tear.
After experiencing increasingly intense pain, Wester rushed to the emergency room again where doctors found she was suffering from a blood clot and ordered a new MRI, she wrote on Yelp.
“The new MRI revealed that, indeed, I had a tear of the MCL like Dr. Brown had said. What it ALSO revealed is that I had a COMPLETE tear of the ACL and LCL, and my Meniscus was torn. The blood clot was due to the bleeding when the ACL was torn. I had essentially been walking around with my lower leg hanging by one ligament since the accident. Nice,” Wester wrote in a comment on the site, which appears in the “not currently recommended” section of the page.
A different doctor performed surgery on Wester related to her knee injury.
“In my opinion, based on what I have learned from my personal experience, I firmly believe that Dr. Brown's nonchalance and incorrect assumptions regarding the extent of my injuries when he examined me in the E.R. and in his own office, his failure to order a new MRI when he couldn't view all areas of the first one, and his enormous ego nearly cost me my life. It is an understatement to say that I would not recommend him – ever,” she wrote on Yelp.
Wester made a formal complaint to the Washington State Medical Commission about Brown, which he is also claiming he is owed for because it allegedly contained false, malicious statements, and was made with a “provably malicious intent.”
Medical board deputy executive direct Micah Matthews told the SeattlePI.com that the complaint was reviewed by a 10-member panel, which ruled that no violation had occurred.
Brown told INSIDE EDITION that it was never his intention to bring his former patient to trial, and that he was rebuffed by Wester when he approached her about her actions.
“My side of the story is, first of all, it’s certainly not about the money… money never had anything to with it. I told her ‘have your attorney call me, it would be great if we could sort this out.’ I was told ‘go ahead and file,” Brown said to IE.
He said he never demanded that she withdraw her bad review, but asked that she balance it out with “the truth.”
“She made up a lot of stuff,” Brown said. “There’s things that she posted on Facebook that contradicted (her Yelp review)."
“I’ve had other patients who were angry at me do that (write bad reviews) and that’s part of the business. When you purposely attack me, then you’re kind of going a little too far,” he continued.
Wester’s attorney, Brad Davis, said his client did nothing wrong and believes the record will show her comments were not defamatory, according to SeatlePI.com.
“When the facts come out, I think it’s going to be a different picture,” Brown said. He declined to go into specifics, citing that Wester is still protected under doctor-patient confidentiality.
Davis also asked the court to order Brown to pay Wester’s legal fees if she wins, SeattlePI.com wrote.
Calls made to Davis were not immediately returned.
An initial hearing date has not yet been set.
Brown, who is also an attorney, said he plans on taking on a lawyer to represent him in court.
“I was hoping we could solve this quickly, quietly and for her, very cheaply,” he said to IE. “I don’t like being in court and I’m sure she doesn’t either.”