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Hospital uses Instagram to live stream a child’s open heart surgery

I thought it was a good idea to tweet live during an open heart surgery as people can get additional information about the procedure, but I have doubts about this story now. A hospital used Instagram to upload pictures of an open heart surgery of a child. Why Instagram? What’s the problem with a simple camera?

The doctors sewed a Gore-Tex graft onto her heart, according to an article in the Orlando Sentinel. A lifelong patient of the hospital, Stone has a heart defect where her heart has only one chamber, instead of two.

Through streaming live her surgery, the hospital wanted to highlight its heart center and give people a behind-the-scenes look at its operating room, Schmidt says.

Along with a member of his digital team, Schmidt posted updates with pictures every ten minutes onTwitter and, once an hour on Facebook. He manually posted photos to the hospital’s blog, creating a live time line of the surgery. In eight hours, including prep time, the four-hour surgery, and wrap up, Schmidt took 46 photos.

One positive aspect though:

Schmidt says at least six families commented that they now feel more assured about their children’s upcoming heart surgeries after watching it.

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lisa #

    I think as long as the family has given permission, its great. The more educated people are, the more informed their decisions become. People make so many decisions based on faulty information. Sharing what goes on during surgery can be nothing but enlightening.

    July 26, 2012
    • I totally agree, but why Instagram?

      July 26, 2012
      • Interesting story!

        I don’t have any information about their decision making process, but I can think of a couple of reasons of why use Instagram.

        – It’s the most active social network for images
        – Integrates perfectly with Facebook and Twitter
        – Great for live shots. A simple snap with the iPhone, and the photo is automatically pushed to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

        I guess it comes down to just being a simple solution and well known solution to this challenge.

        August 1, 2012
      • I get your point, but I think they could have had the same results by just uploading normal photos. The reason why it got viral was the Instagram component.

        August 7, 2012
      • You are right, but I’m pretty sure it got international attention because of Instagram, not because of the idea of sharing pictures during a surgery.

        August 10, 2012
  2. Dr. Miguel Angel Mayer #

    In my view it seems clear that they used Instragram to assure it got viral. But for me, the main question is if it is really useful to do that in terms of educational or informed decision matter. What was the real aim of this?
    Although it is supposed the family gave permission I do have my doubts about legal/privacy issues and patient-doctor relationship ethics about all that, at least in many European countries.

    August 7, 2012

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