Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top Surgeon Dr Susan Lim Investigated by Singapore Medical Council (SMC) for Overcharging

On 24 Feb 2011, Singapore's The Straits Times commenced its coverage of the High Court case between Dr Susan Lim and the Singapore Medical Council (SMC).  The case revolves around Dr Lim's attempt to block the SMC from appointing a second disciplinary committee to investigate allegations by Singapore's Ministry of Health that she had abused the trust placed in her by the patient trust to overcharge her.

I will leave my comments on Dr Lim's approach for another blog posting.  For today however, I would like to highlight the importance of Wikipedia.

In my earlier blog post titled "not all websites are created equal", I argued that PR Professionals needed that closely monitor the postings of influential websites.  This was important as these are websites have the power to sway public opinion and Wikipedia is one such website.

In my opinion, Wikipedia's influence is based on three factors: (a) its high-ranking in search engines; (b) its massive "knowledge based" covering practically any topic under the sun; and (c) its reputation as being a credible source of information.  In Dr Lim's case, a search of "Dr Susan Lim" on google returns a Wikipedia link on her within the top 10.  Clicking on the link then brings us to a biography of Dr Lim.  Interestingly, the biography ends with a paragraph stating that she was accused in Feb 2011 of overcharging her patient and that she had offered to "waive the entire bill if the patient's family would withdraw their complaint but the family did not agree to do."

From what I have read in the main stream news, this last statement has not been proven.  Hence, to the casual reader, this statement in a "credible" source like Wikipedia would give the perception that it is true and that Dr Lim is indeed guilty of overcharging.

My point to PR Professionals is this.  The organisations and the CEOs you work for are likely to have Wikipedia pages like Dr Lim's.  Hence, it is essential during any crisis to ensure that the "facts" as reported on Wikipedia is accurate and if it is not, to refute it.  The influence of Wikipedia cannot be ignored and PR Professionals must not neglect to communicate to stakeholders via this platform.

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