About and Disclaimers

Last updated 17 March 2012

About the Author

PalMD is a pseudonym used by an internist practicing in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. The author is not anonymous, and writes in a number of venues, but finds pseudonymity to be a useful internet convention. In addition to being internet custom, a pseudonym allows for a consistent internet identity across venues while allowing some control over how you are represented in internet searches.

PalMD is a real doctor, but he is not your doctor. Any personal medical issues the reader may have should be referred to the reader’s physician. If the reader freely chooses to use some random anonymous blog to make medical decisions, well, that would be just foolish.

About the Blog

White Coat Underground is a blog about a lot of things, but whose tagline is “musings on the intersection of science, medicine, and culture.” If you want to get a better idea of what we’re about here, come on in and take a look around.   The blog began in May of 2007, went on hiatus while I wrote for denialism blog at scienceblogs.com, and was re-born on scienceblogs.com. Certain editorial decisions led me to join up with several colleagues at Scientopia. My writing has continued without significant interruption since May 2007.

My posts represent my own opinions, thoughts, etc. and no one else’s. Neither my hospital, partners, university, nor anyone else has approved of anything I write. The information in my posts is intended for discussion purposes and not as recommendations on how to diagnose or treat illnesses.

My blog contains a great deal of medical information, most of which is sourced and can be easily looked up and verified. Anyone using this space to advance their own pet medical ideas or to advocate wildly non-standard medical ideas will be warned and possibly banned. If you make wildly bizarre health claims, be prepared to back them up. It is not my responsibility to disprove every wild claim that comes my way.

I write all of the posts on this blog unless otherwise noted. As commenting is an essential part of the dialog encouraged by blogging I will allow commenters great leeway in posting content. I stand by the accuracy of the medical information I present in my posts, but not what is contained in the comments. The appearance of a comment should in no way be confused for an endorsement. I rarely delete or censor comments (the exception being when I feel they have outright dangerous or hateful content). Commenting is an integral part of a weblog, and I will always allow it here, but none of the comments should be contrued as offering valid medical advice.

Confidentiality and Privacy

Confidentiality is more important than any other principle in medical writing.  I always change significant data about clinical cases, which can include gender, place, temporal relationships, and other potentially identifying data. Cases are often amalgams of different patients’ stories. In some cases, they are so far from the original as to constitute fiction.

Please remember that any information you submit through comments or email are inherently un-secure. If you wouldn’t shout it from the rooftops, don’t send it to me or post it in a comment. That being said, I will never intentionally divulge personal information or contact information of our visitors, with the following exception: if you make threatening comments, or use the comment thread to try to sell something, I will, at my discretion, reveal whatever I wish.

The following is a good guide to commenting on blogs: type whatever you will, but your email or comment may become the subject of a new post, and that isn’t always a good thing for the commenter.

Advertising, funding, and compensation

I do not currently accept advertising or compensation for this blog.  I do frequently receive press releases by email, and if I use them as a source, I note it specifically (more often, I use press releases as examples of how not to source a story).  From time to time, I may receive a book from a publisher.  If I review a book I received for free, I note it in the post.  I’m happy to entertain offers for paid writing gigs.

Contact info

I can be reached by email here.
I do not answer medical questions by mail. Ever.

Leave a comment

5 Comments

  1. Stephen Rockower, MD

     /  January 14, 2012

    Thanks. I stumbled here, but find this very informative and very similar to my own views (so far). I especially liked the “Quack Miranda Warning”. There is so much pseudoscience out there, it boggles my mind.

    Keep up the good work

    Reply
  2. Louise Mulholland

     /  February 2, 2012

    Hi may i ask you a question? I don’t know if my perception is correct but it alway seems there is a reluctance on behalf of the medical and scientific to regulate and challenge misinformation in many industries out there. Why is this so? From Diet/fitness gurus to yogis and healers and even Hollywood actors, it seems everyone has been given carte blanche to dispense advise. ON EVERYTHING HEALTH RELATED! How is it unchallenged? I understand it is not every professional’s job to do this.And i realize someworkvery hard in doing just that. But it falls to some regulartory body surely to control it ? How does so much dross get through into practise and into the media? What is most alarming for me are the number of MD’s associating themselves with faulty dangerous lifestyle ideas for unjustifable reasons. Everyone knows not to trust Candy from L.A or Diva Peacepeas but Dr Atkins, Dr Fuhrman???Yes i mention names. What i really scary is the wave of youtube ‘shows’ by ‘gurus’ featuring interviews with various MD’s almost validating their importance. The discourse that usually ensues is bordering on endorsement in some cases of rather dodgy advice. Usually there are warnings circulating in the media about the latest fad or miracle herb from genuine practitioners.But wouldn’t it be better if they were never there at all? And thank you for your wonderful blog. You seem to be trying to correct the balance whichiswhat i am talking about. But there needs to be more done. What do you think could be done?

    Reply
  3. I dunno, but there’s a very vigorous group of us out here. Like sciencebasedmedicine.org scienceblogs.com/insolence

    Reply
  4. dansela

     /  March 14, 2012

    I’m not quite sure that I’m in the right place but I figured I’d try anyway. My daughter wants to become an MD – not sure what specialty yet. She’s currently in a community college but since she got her associates degree in one year she wants to transfer to UIC. She’s a 4.0 honors student who’s very hard working and motivated. Everyone tells her that going to UIC is a waste of time and she should go to a more prestigious school, however I can’t afford it. UIC is affordable for my family and her goal is to finish the 4 years without any debt and then transfer to a better school for her graduate program. If her grades continue to be good but she doesn’t go to a more prestigious school such as Northwestern, will she still be able to go to a good medical school or would the fact that she comes from a “less impressive” school hinder her chances of getting into a good medical school even with good grades? I’ve never been to school in this country so this whole system is somewhat confusing and I’m not able to guide her appropriately. I appreciate any input on the subject. Thank you

    Reply
    • I don’t know enough, but I know people who do. Still, UIC is a great school, and has its own med school with several campuses around the state. Northwestern is an amazing school and very, very pricey.

      Leaving medical school with huge debt is very burdensome. It limits your specialty options.

      Check out KevinMD.com for some more opinions.

      Reply

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