Quick follow-up on Twitter Surgery

To those of you who have been reading my posts about the Live-tweet brain surgery, which was performed at the Regional Epilepsy Center at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center (Aurora Health Care) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I myself have been wondering how the patient is doing and what experience came out of the whole Twitter event.

Peter Balistrieri, Manager of Digital Communications at Aurora Health Care have been so kind as to share some of the experiences on my previous post in the comments section and to those that haven’t read that far I thought I’d just link to 10 tips for tweeting a successful brain surgery. The tips are very hands-on and seem specifically directed towards others considering taking up live-tweeting from the surgery room. But there are some interesting aspects also for people outside the world of surgeries and hospitals. For example I find the recommendation of developing a relationship with the patient and doctors and surgeons prior to the Twitter surgery interesting. This is not only of benefits to the tweeters but also to the followers and gives a story-telling feeling to something otherwise very clinical and sterile.

That said I do miss a little bit of post-twitter-surgery-follow-up. Firstly, how is the patient, Geoffery, doing? We were all right there with him on the operation table, and curiosity bids me to wonder how he is doing today? And secondly, I am ver curious to know how the medical staff perceive the whole Twitter situation? Who followed the event and did it have the intended effect? What have the responses been? From patients, from colleagues, from patient organisations? Lots of question comes to mind and the only online follow-up that I have been able to find so far has so far been the before mentioned 10 lessons learned and an official announcement of a successful surgery with a short note that Geoff is doing well and that we’ll hear more from him 2+ weeks. I’m looking forward to that update. But also an update from the medical staff and perhaps for some reflections on the educational effect of the Twitter event, especially when putting on the ‘science communication’ perspective, which I would argue to some extend be relevant for an event like this one.

2 thoughts on “Quick follow-up on Twitter Surgery

  1. Hi Nina,

    Here’s some additional follow-up that you may be looking for:

    Geoff’s neurologist at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, Dr. Chip Morris, told me Geoff is “looking like a million bucks.” He is back at home in Pulaski, WI and walking a mile every day. He’s working with a speech pathologist and has not had any seizures yet. We needed to give Geoff and his family a little time to recover before we went back to do follow-up that we could again publicize. That being said, there will be a great post-surgery story we will share soon. It involves a local teacher in the city where Geoff lives who let his his 8th grade students follow the surgery back on 9/27!

    Additionally, you asked about the medical staff’s perception of the event: Both attending physicians, neurologist, Dr. Chip Morris, and neurosurgeon, Dr. Shekhar Dagam did post-surgery interviews with local Milwaukee media which we posted here: http://www.aurorahealthcare.org/services/neurological-care/epilepsy-care/twitter-epilepsy-surgery. Overall, they were very pleased with the whole event and reiterated that this was a great opportunity to shed light on a disease AND a surgery that makes many people very nervous.

    From a social media measurement the day before, day of and day after (72 hours), we increased our Twitter impressions by nearly 100%, our Facebook impressions by nearly 70% and our YouTube impressions by 203%! The epilepsy pages on our web site (aurora.org) were visited nearly seven times more than the average in the span of a month (9/14 to 10/14).

    We received so many positive responses to the surgery as well! It was great to see the diverse audience that logged on that morning and stayed engaged (asking questions, making positive comments) throughout the surgery – from individuals to blog writers (http://www.robertssister.com/2011/09/education-and-epilepsy-surgery-via.html) to epilpesy foundations/organizations to medical institutions, everyone seemed glued to the feed.

    So once again, thank you Nina for following up with us. I will alert you when we complete the fomal publicized follow-up with Geoff and his family.

    This was such a great opportunity for everyone involved and you all deserve to know how Geoff is coming along, and we couldn’t be more pleased with his outcome, his progress, and your interest.

    Thanks again!

    • Dear Peter,
      Thanks for the update! It is interesting to see how this was recieved and of course to learn how Geoff is doing.

      It will also be interesting to see how big a role social media in the operating room will play in the future.

      Best regards to you and the team


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