VIC Written a Book on Hospital Experience - Can I be Sued?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now

Kalifa

Member
9 September 2014
4
0
1
I've written a book detailing my illness which began 25 years ago, until very recently. I have detailed the attitudes of nurses, doctors, surgeons, physios and so on, but not mentioned anyone by name.

Little anecdotes about other patients with whom I came in contact appear in the book, also anonymously. I have referred to a particular nurse as "Indian" - not in a racist manner, but simply to record that she couldn't understand a patient defying a Medical Specialist because it couldn't happen in her culture.

Can I be sued for defamation?
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
4,125
742
2,894
Sydney
How can we help you?
Is there a specific question?
 

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
1,314
250
2,389
Melbourne, Victoria
From what you have provided, no. This does not appear to constitute defamation. If it is your opinion, experience and/or you can support that it is the truth and you have written it in a way where the characters cannot be identified, then you should be alright.

However, best to have an editor read through it to double check.

Is this what you are concerned about?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kalifa

Kalifa

Member
9 September 2014
4
0
1
From what you have provided, no. This does not appear to constitute defamation. If it is your opinion, experience and/or you can support that it is the truth and you have written it in a way where the characters cannot be identified, then you should be alright.

However, best to have an editor read through it to double check.

Is this what you are concerned about?

Thank you for answering my question. That is what concerned me. It has been edited and the editor thinks it is OK. Is there anything more I can provide for further opinion? Regards, Freda
 

AnnaLJ

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
94
19
354
Hi Kalifa

To err on the safe side, I would consider removing any details from the book that may make you and/or the hospital and its employees identifiable. You might want to consider using a pseudonym for the author name and changing around some of the descriptions in the book.

If you wanted to be extra cautious, you could include a line in the preface stating this is based on a true story, but that the characters used in the book do not bear any resemblance to real persons etc etc. Of course this takes away some of the appeal of the book in terms of it being a true story...

Alternatively, if you are confident that what you are writing in the book is the truth and you have exercised some discretion to at least not make the hospital identifiable, I would feel reasonably confident that if someone tried to sue you for defamation you could raise 'truth' as a defence to that claim.

I hope that helps

Anna
 

Kalifa

Member
9 September 2014
4
0
1
HI Anna - thank you for your thoughts about my book. I'll take your advice into consideration with my editor.
Regards, Freda
 

Kalifa

Member
9 September 2014
4
0
1
Dear Anna - thanks again for your help with my query about the book I've written. I've been unwell during the past coupld of weeks and inadvertently deleted all advice and answers which you so kindly sent. Would it be possible to have everything sent again please? Regards, Kalifa -(alias Freda)