This post is from Kartini Clinic CEO Morgan O'Toole. 

Online reviews have become part of our everyday lives. Who hasn’t glanced at the star ratings when Googling a new hair salon or looking for a restaurant to try out? Most of the time, online reviews are just another useful data point when trying to make a casual purchasing decision.

But more essential services like doctor’s offices and health clinics come with Yelp pages and Google ratings these days, too. Kartini Clinic is one of them. But unlike restaurants or hair salons, we are strictly limited in our ability to respond to reviews, even when they contain content that is factually untrue or even implies active wrongdoing on the part of clinic staff. While we are always grateful to receive constructive feedback and are eager to work with families to resolve any issues they have during their time at Kartini Clinic, when problems are expressed in the form of an online review, our options to respond are very limited.

These reviews have also sometimes become a way for our young patients to express their frustration during a difficult period in their lives. One example occurred very recently: a spate of negative reviews, at least one of which was written under a pseudonym, claiming to be patients or friends of patients at Kartini Clinic appeared in a matter of hours. Though treatment is spent working with parents and patients towards a positive, often live-saving goal, there is no question that the day-to-day process of recovery is difficult. As we have discussed on this blog before, eating disorders are brain disorders. As with any brain disorder, children who suffer from them may be  looking at the world through a distorted perspective-- including, in many cases, an inability to acknowledge that their disordered eating is problematic at all. This is a clinical phenomenon called anosognosia.

(Incidentally, this is also partly why Kartini Clinic believes so firmly that weight restoration must be the first step in treatment. Malnourishment only exacerbates these problems. No one’s brain functions properly when they’re starving.)

Parents, we urge you to engage your children on this subject. Please help us to  ensure that your child is expressing their fear and frustration in a constructive way. And if you have any feedback for Kartini Clinic, we encourage you to reach out to us at help@kartiniclinic.com, where we will be able to directly address your concerns.

We also invite parents to share their family’s experiences at Kartini Clinic, either publicly or privately. Private comments may be directed to an individual staff member, or to help@kartiniclinic.com. If you are willing to share publicly, you may do so on Google or Yelp.