Live Tweeting a Brain Surgery

[Warning: Some links may contain graphic images]
A few days ago Memorial Hermann hospital took the use of Twitter to a new level, by bringing the ability for the masses to follow along as doctors removed a brain tumor. While Memorial Hermann is not the first hospital to tweet a live surgery, their strategic use of social media was beyond impressive. While the main focus was on their twitter channel, they strategically utilized other social media channels, like Pinterest and YouTube during the procedure.

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter or social media in general, one might think – “Why in the world would anyone want to follow a surgery online?!” But there are great benefits to bringing something like this to light, the educational aspect being one of the biggest.

Live tweeting a surgery has both a medical and patient education component to it. Wednesday’s brain surgery was followed by students both in their classrooms and beyond (this can be especially beneficial for Academic Medical Centers). Patients and their loved ones, who might be experiencing a similar surgery, can also benefit by learning more about the procedure and what to expect. It also opens the door to the non-medical audience, who never imagined they’d be able to be watch a surgery. The surgery tweeted on Wednesday reached over 14 million people.

Could you have imagined this happening 10 years ago? From the comments Memorial Hermann received it showed that people were in awe of the ability to follow along:

Curious to see how it worked? You can recap Wednesday's events on Storify.

P.S. The surgery was a success and the patient is recovering well!

Image from Memorial Hermann Healthcare System