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People Are Live-Tweeting Everything, Including Births – Are There No Limits?

How many times each day do you see something on social media that makes me marvel at people’s lack of personal boundaries? Pretty often, we’re guessing.

One way folks feed into this ‘too much info’ (TMI) mentality is through live-tweeting.

Yes, live-tweeting can be great for breaking news and such, but do we want to read live tweets from someone pushing out a baby? If you’ve ever heard someone recount even a bit of the birthing process, the answer is a resounding NO. But someone did it. And we’re guessing that’s only the tip of this TMI iceberg.

There was  a brain surgery live-tweeted (not by the patient, of course) and a mom tweeted 104 times during labor - but at least that wasn’t a blow-by-blow of the actual birth. 

And now, the Washington Post reports the first live-tweeted Caesarean section happened.

Why would anyone DO this? In this age of reality TV, do you really need to ask?

Many doctors (and patients) cite the educational benefits of sharing surgeries online.

“The goal was really to unveil a very common surgery for women and to demystify it and show the step-by-step process of what actually goes on in a C-section,” said Anne Gonzalez, the Memorial Hermann obstetrician-gynecologist who performed the live-tweeted Caesarean.

“The things you see on TV are often edited to a significant degree,” Gonzalez said. “This was going to walk a patient through, starting from the minute they walked into the hospital.”

Robert Rivera, an ophthalmic surgeon in Salt Lake City who live-streamed a contact-lens implant last week, said he’s drawn to the interactive aspect of online surgery.

“Why not take this onto the Internet and allow patients from literally everywhere to watch a real-time procedure, to ask questions and to basically have an unprecedented opportunity to see the thing for themselves?” Rivera said.

BUT, at least one major surgeons group, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, is discouraging them outright.

The group frowns upon live broadcasts of surgery even for the benefit of other physicians, unless the educational value is high. Twitter broadcasting is strongly condemned by the group.

“Surgeons should not participate in live surgery broadcasts to the public or lay audiences using any medium, including television and the Internet,” according to the society’s guidelines.

But maybe doctors up to their elbows in spinal cord aren’t the most socially savvy folks to be weighing in. Where the plastic surgeons at? (Incorrect grammar intentional.) 

What do you think of this practice? Have you seen some ‘out there’ things (beyond even medical procedures) live-tweeted?

(Image from Shutterstock)

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