Houston Hospital Brings Global Audience Into Operating Room
The staff of the neurosurgeon who treated former U.S. Rep. Gabriel Giffords live-tweeted and blogged a brain surgery procedure Wednesday from Houston’s Memorial Hermann hospital.
Dr. Dong Kim started the procedure around 9a.m. on a 21-year-old patient with a tumor on the right side of her brain.
Another neurosurgeon, Dr. Scott Shepard, communicated with social media followers via Cover-It -Live and Twitter an hour and a half before the procedure started.
As the patient was being prepared, Dr. Shepard told social media followers the surgery would take several hours.
“The surgery will take approximately three hours plus an hour of anesthesia time,” Dr. Shepard wrote via Cover-it-Live.
A global audience watched the procedure. From Sugarland, Texas to Bogota, Columbia, the worldwide audience was curious and excited about what they were seeing.
“So amazing to watch this unfold,” Alana wrote at 8:05a.m. on Cover-it-Live.
They wanted to know everything. Dr. Shepard and the Memorial Hermann staff gave explicit details.
They wanted to know about the patient.
“The cavernous angioma [tumor] was discovered about one month ago after the patient experienced a seizure,” Dr. Shepard wrote at 8:06a.m. on Cover-it-Live.
At 8:12a.m. a photo was posted on Pinterest of the patient being wheeled down the hallway to the operation theatre.
“This is amazing,” Windy wrote at 8:13 a.m. on Cover-it-Live.
At 8:15a.m. the hospital staff warned the global watchers that some of the images they would see would be graphic.
Some were concerned about the side effects of this type of surgery.
“For most people, surgery in the right temporal lobe does not cause any significant problems because more of the important functions are in the left temporal lobe,” Dr. Shepard wrote at 8:52a.m. on Cover-it-Live.
Others wanted to know how many doctors and nurses were in the operating room.
“There are two nurses, two anesthesiologists, two surgeons and one safety monitor in the or today,” Dr. Shepard wrote at 8:59a.m. on Cover-it-Live.
Starting at 9:12a.m. the Memorial Hermann hospital team documented all of Dr. Kim’s steps during the procedure.
“Dr. Kim does two separate preps before the surgery. He applies bacteriostatic agents to the scalp, to sterilize,” Houston Hospital wrote at 9:12a.m. on Cover-it-Live.
At 9:36a.m. the hospital staff warned again that the video they were posting would be graphic in nature. The patient’s head was shaved.
At 10:20a.m. Dr. Kim started drilling into the patient’s skull. He lifted this portion of the skull exposing the membrane underneath called the dura.
A group of 4th graders was watching the procedure and wanted to know the color of the brain and whether the patient would have a headache following the procedure.
“The patient will have a modest headache from the incision in the scalp but will not have pain from the surgery on the brain,” Shepard wrote at 10:22a.m. on Cover-it-Live.
At 11:18a.m. Dr. Kim got the first glimpse of the tumor.
By 12:15p.m. Dr. Kim had removed the tumor. The global observers were in awe.
“Holy wow. That is incredible,” Louis wrote at 12:18p.m. on Cover-it-Live.
Others saw it as a new media experience.
“I really hope to have the opportunity to watch other surgeries live. This is definitely a learning experience, something for my book of memoirs,” Idalia Bisbal wrote at 12:13p.m. on Cover-it-Live.
Dr. Shepard explained why it was important to remove this tumor from the patient’s brain.
“A seizure is an electrical short circuit in the brain that can be caused by any abnormality in the brain. The tumor interferes with the normal electrical conduction in the brain and can sometimes cause seizures,” Dr. Shepard wrote on Cover-it-Live.
Sallye Wasserstein reminded the global observers that May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month. She highly lauded Dr. Kim’s team for using social media as an educational tool on this procedure.
“On behalf of the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation, we thank you for being pioneers today and for choosing Brian Cancer Awareness month to perform this surgery,” said Wasserman. “We know that the many people touched by brain cancer will have a better understanding about what to expect during brain surgery.
After the surgery the patient was taken into the intensive care unit. At 1:36 p.m. staff wrote that Dr. Kim visited with the patient.
“We had a nice conversation and she looks great,” Dr. Kim said.
This was not the first time Memorial Hermann documented one of its procedures to a global audience. In February, the hospital staff live-tweeted an open-heart surgery.
Some of the observers said the procedure would inspire a new generation to enter in the field of medicine.
High school students responded.
” Hi. I’m a high school student who wants to go into medical school. This is so cool,” Alexa wrote on Cover-it-Live.
Dr. Kim was Arizona Congresswoman Giffords’ surgeon when she was transported from Arizona in 2011 to Memorial Hermann’s internationally noted neurologically recovery center. Giffords was shot in the head at a campaign event in January 2011. She stepped down from her Congressional seat in January 2012.