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A word from our sponsor …

April 2010

I readily admit that I rarely read blogs, hospitalist-centric or otherwise. Usually, I am too narcissistically obsessed with writing my own to allow time for anything other than the essential Wachter’s World. I doubt this makes me unique. As of 2008, there were more than 112 million blogs with “only” 175,000 new ones starting each day.

But some people must be reading the blogs when they are not too busy writing their own, as evidenced by the proliferation of advertising, both on this site and many others.
Even Dr. Wachter’s blog has a pitch for information on a hyponatremia drug. This is perhaps a little curious, given the great effort to which many in the academic world have gone to distance themselves from the pharmaceutical industry.

So what’s my point? I am partial to Today’s Hospitalist and fully expect the site to take advantage of any possible revenue streams. Plus, I bet that Dr. Wachter receives absolutely none of the ad revenue generated by his blog, but I don’t believe anyone should object if he does.

But I do have to draw the proverbial line in the sand somewhere among my blogging brethren and say, “What the Heck?”

Case in point, scrolling through the hospitalist blogosphere, I noted that one well-written blog, The Happy Hospitalist, had the most curious of ads: links to personal injury attorneys, in Great Britain no less.

What would be the analogy? A blog for Alcoholics Anonymous sponsored by Bud Light? A Tea Party blog sponsored by a PAC for President Obama’s health care reform? Or better yet, a blog for diabetics sponsored by Twinkies?

My favorite among the links on Happy’s site was the one that brought me to a mostly anatomically correct human image. Click on the groin, and you find that a severe injury there is worth between 18,000 and 90,000 pounds. The head, just slightly more. Although the pound has fallen off against the dollar recently, it still enjoys a 1.4:1 advantage. Enough to make me think that suing a physician on either side of the pond is well worth a lawyer’s time and effort.

In fairness to Happy, I suspect he has no idea that these sponsorships exist and that a third party is linking these ads to his blog.

I further suspect that a blog gets paired with a relevant advertiser according to an algorithm created by some “instamillionaire” computer genius from Silicon Valley who probably made his or her fortune before any of us got accepted to medical school. Whatever process determines that a blog read predominantly by health care providers is somehow appropriately linked to sites on how to sue those same providers either believes we are all self-loathers or that we’re just as ready as many in the general public to get ours, should things not go as planned.

So while my Today’s Hospitalist blog probably doesn’t have as much to offer as some of the gold standards in the hospital medicine blogosphere, let me will boldly make two promises. One: This blog will never accept advertising from attorneys such as Weiner & Cox, Paine & Fears, Low, Ball, and Lynch or their ilk. (Seriously, I’m not making these names up.) Second: No great hospital medicine story will every slip the notice of the intrepid Today’s Hospitalist Blogging Team. OK, at least the first promise is pretty solid.

Completely unrelated, but not to be missed, is a New York Times article about scams recently perpetrated on the vulnerable since health care reform passed. Here’s the lede: “In Illinois, a telemarketer recently sold an elderly woman a fraudulent health insurance plan that supposedly protected her against ‘death panels,’ the state insurance director says.” We’re trying to steer clear of fraudulent health insurance ads too.