Tips for Writing a Negative Review About a Doctor or Hospital
Negative reviews are among the most potent tools pregnant people and new parents have at their disposal. Yet many are reluctant to leave public negative reviews. Some even fear legal retaliation. If you’ve had a bad experience with a hospital or doctor, you absolutely must leave a negative review to warn and protect other patients. Here’s how to do it the right way.
Where to leave a negative review
To have the biggest impact, it’s best to leave your negative review on several different sites. The most important place to leave a negative review, however, is on the social media page where the hospital or doctor has the biggest presence. This offers you access to a wider audience, and ensures the provider will see the review. For most providers and hospitals, this is going to mean leaving a review on Facebook. If the hospital has not enabled Facebook’s review tool, you can leave your negative review as a post to the page, or as a comment to a post on the page.
Some other places to leave negative reviews include:
what to include in your review
Write your review so that someone who only has 30 seconds can easily scan your review and assess whether or not to use the hospital or provider you used. Give the specific facts of what went wrong, but don’t include unnecessary details. Long, rambling paragraphs are ineffective. Short, succinct statements of fact work better.
Some examples of effective language include:
“My doctor performed x procedure on me without my consent. I said no and they did it anyway.”
“This doctor used x, y, and z scare tactics to try to coerce me into a c-section.”
“The doctor verbally abused me during labor by doing the following…”
Your goal should be a review that is easy to understand and scan. Don’t assume a person knows something or believes something to be true. State the facts, as plainly as possible.
How to make your review more effective
To be truly effective, a review must contain information that is useful and accurate. It must also reach a wide audience. To accomplish both goals:
Keep your paragraphs short. Limit yourself to only 3-4 sentences per paragraph.
Have someone proofread your review before posting it.
Ask yourself what you would want to know if you were a patient considering this doctor.
Share the review on social media or with friends.
Consider sharing the review with a birth advocacy organization. ImprovingBirth.org, for example, regularly shares information about bad hospital experiences. You can also contact the Georgia Birth Advocacy Coalition for help reaching a broader audience.
legal considerations for leaving a negative review
Doctors and hospitals know that reviews matter. Instead of trying to address the negative information contained in negative reviews, some retaliate. It is perfectly legal to leave a negative review, even a scathing one. You must, however, ensure that the review is true. To protect yourself against claims of defamation:
Ensure you use the right name for each provider. If you can’t remember a provider’s name, give a description instead.
Stick to the facts. Don’t editorialize or add opinions. “Doctor x was determined to abuse me because he hates women” is not a factual statement. “Dr x made sexist comments and then stripped my membranes without my consent” is.
Don’t talk about thirdhand information. Mentioning something you heard from someone else is not helpful.
Don’t share other people’s experiences. If your best friend had a bad experience, let them write a review themselves.
If you have documentation, such as photos or a recording, mention this. This may deter a doctor or hospital from threatening you.
If you are involved in a lawsuit or other legal action, talk to your lawyer before leaving a bad review.
Some doctors retaliate by posting a response that disputes the reviewer’s claim. In some cases, these responses contain personal medical information. If a doctor discloses your medical information without your consent, they have broken the law. Contact the site where you left the review to have the information removed. You may also want to file a complaint with the Georgia Composite Medical Board.