A landmark court ruling from July that was published only last month gives a surgeon who was reprimanded the right to be ‘forgotten’ by Google, Trouw reports.
The surgeon in question was initially removed from the BIG register of healthcare professionals because she had been found negligent in the post-operative care of a patient by the medical disciplinary panel. After an appeal this was changed to a conditional suspension.
Despite this, the first results after entering her name in Google were links to a website with a blacklist of doctors. According to the surgeon this amounted to a ‘digital pillory’.
Read more at DutchNews.nl. I’m not sure I understand the doctor’s “privacy rights” as a professional. There are a few issues here, aren’t there? There’s the issue of whether the information on the website about the doctor is inaccurate or accurate. There’s the issue of what happens when accurate information needs to be updated, perhaps. And then there’s the issue of does the web site have the right to publish disciplinary information at all, and if it does, why doesn’t Google have the right to index that?
I can certainly appreciate that doctors still have a right to privacy about some things, but do they have a right to privacy about formal disciplinary action taken by a regulatory board against them in their professional capacity? If the purpose of regulatory boards is to protect the public, then shouldn’t the public’s right to know trump any doctor’s right to privacy about their professional disciplinary record? I’m not sure I understand the court’s opinion and would like to read more about the case — and the opinion — in English.