Why It's Your Duty to Share Accurate Health Info on Facebook

Jennifer Gunter, MD


January 17, 2017

My sons were born 13 years ago, and my pregnancy experience lends support to the widely held notion—true or not—that doctors have the most complications.

I was pregnant with triplets. My first son, delivered at 22 weeks, died. I managed to stay pregnant with my remaining two until 26 weeks, when I became septic. As if being born prematurely wasn't enough of a challenge, one my sons had pulmonary valve stenosis and a large atrial septal defect, and the other had congenital hypothyroidism. We've tackled bronchopulmonary dysplasia, cerebral palsy, multiple intensive care unit stays, surgeries, and more doctor visits than I care to remember.

Like many people, I turned to the Internet for information, but instead of being happy with what I found, I was shocked at the misinformation. I wondered how people who didn't have a medical degree managed to parse through the information.

This led me to write a book on prematurity to help parents in the same boat as me—and when that was published, I came to realize that a book was too static for today's age of information, so I started blogging. As my children grew, I drifted away from writing about prematurity and more to women's healthcare.

I've been a physician blogger now for over 5 years, and what I have written has been viewed over 12 million times. Along the way, I've received assignments from several magazines and websites and been interviewed enough times to know that some editors only want "cool" or "controversial," which makes way for the specter of false balance. I've seen news outlets crib press releases from journals, with no unbiased medical source for confirmation. I've been dismayed at wonderful, thoughtful reporting that is undone by a misleading headline. All of this has made me even more determined to try to fix my little corner of the medical Internet.

I know what you are thinking: "I'm busy enough; I just don't have the time to blog. And anyway, I'm not a journalist, so what can I do?"


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