Some hospitals and medical centers have begun to broadcast surgeries on the Internet via webcasts. I have a feeling there are some we don’t care to see. The very first webcast surgery was Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Texas. The live brain surgery had an audience of about 2,000 people. Since then, 9,000 people have watched the cast.
The doctors who webcast their surgeries provide step-by-step explanations. Live viewers are able to ask questions while the surgery is taking place. I’m not to sure I would want to be the patient under the knife while America watched, but I guess some people are willing to just put themselves out there.
These doctors who agree to the surgeries are pretty brave. The audiences for this surgery have a wide range. Not only will you have possible patients in the future watching your every move, but you could have other doctors critiquing your work. That doesn’t sound like much fun.
Urological surgeon Andrew Portis, M.D., webcasted a surgery using X-ray radiation. During the webcast, an observer asked him if he could do the surgery without all the of X-raying. According to Dr. Portis, you can. After the webcast, Portis and his medical team have since cut down X-ray radiation during surgeries.
As a public relations student and soon professional (hopefully), I have been taught that it’s important for organizations to be transparent. I believe this is extremely important in the medical field. Doctors are being sued for malpractice all the time, and hospitals can take a lot of heat from the media. A webcast surgery might cause some serious damage. What happens when a viewer thinks he sees something the doctor is doing wrong and goes and tells the rest of the community how bad the doctor at the local hospital is? His friends will take his word for it over the hospital’s.
On the other hand, I believe webcasting surgeries can do a lot of good. Those tech-savvy patients who are watching a surgery they will possibly need, can experience the procedure before it’s done. These potential customers can watch their doctors and possibly feel better about having surgery. And talk about media coverage! There is an unbelievable audience for these surgeries.