When I first heard that Sunnybrook Hospital was going to be live-tweeting open heart surgery to the world, I thought what many of you did:
At least it's not more news about Justin Bieber.
After much thought, I've decided that I can't really get behind it. It's not because I'm too sensitive or freaked out or sickened by the entire thing. But because I think there just have to be a few places left on this earth where we can have a little privacy and get away from the eyeballs of the rest of the world. Does everything we do now have to be documented for everyone to see right as we do it? Not after the fact, but in the moment?
Thanks to government spying, I already have no privacy on my phone calls, in my emails, or even on the pornographic websites I tell my wife I've never seen. At least let there be privacy in the operating room.
Ten, maybe 15 years ago, all you had to do was be a doctor and life was good. You had the fast car, the trophy wife, and you could prescribe recreational drugs to your friends. Now no one is as impressed with your ability to crack open a rib cage or fumble around with a person's intestines. Now a doctor has to be a social media junkie, too? What's next? Putting photos of my colonoscopy on Instagram? I already take photos of my food before I eat it. Now I guess it's time to take pics of how it looks after I'm done.
For doctors, this is all about educating others. But for hospitals, it's all about money. There's serious money to be made in getting eyeballs to notice the typical day on the operating table. But doctors have enough stress in their lives. Do we really need to add to that the stress of getting "likes" on Facebook? What's next? Selling click-through ads for pacemakers while performing a double bypass? Is playing God not good enough? Now you have to play Candy Crush at the same time? I want my doctor stroking my heart, not his ego.
I can only hope that the job of live tweeting the procedures remains in the (hopefully steady) hands of a nurse or assisting surgeon, not the guy holding the blade and hovering over the patient. I don't want the same hands that are rooting around in my chest cavity touching a dirty iPad with God knows how many germs lingering on it from hours of playing Angry Birds and surfing for naked pictures of Helen Mirren. And if you're scared at the thought of a doctor accidentally leaving a pair of forceps inside you and sewing you up, just imagine what it'll be like when he drops his iPhone in there. I'm certain that the roaming charges from something like that are not covered by your health plan.
I file this little tidbit right into the category of "OVERSHARING". People already tell me way too much personal stuff on Facebook and Twitter. They tell me about when their kid poops himself or how depressed they are after binge watching House of Cards. Everyone is so busy telling me about the person they are on the inside. Now they're going to be literally showing me their insides.
Not everything needs to be shared on The Internet. We don't have to constantly be plugged into society and sharing our every thought with them. There used to be a time when you were simply unavailable for a few hours. Now people have to live tweet during surgery, at the movies, and while smoking crack with the mayor.
Yes, I know, the patient in this case gave his permission to the doctor to live tweet the surgery. But this is a guy who is letting a doctor cut him open and fool around with vital organs. What's he going to do, ARGUE WITH THAT GUY? Of course not. I don't even disagree with my doctor when he uses two hands to check my prostate. I'm certainly not going to haggle with the guy holding he scalpel.
If I wanted someone touching me in a very private, personal way and then live tweeting it to strangers everywhere, I wouldn't go to a doctor. I'd go to Charlie Sheen.
(Come to think of it...I'm on board. Bring on the 21st century! Call my dentist and get her to start tweeting my next cleaning.)
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