K18 -- May 2010 -- Twitter and Medicine
Intro: People use Twitter to share information: The latest news, current events, what people are talking about, even what's for dinner. Now, people are using it to get access to health care. Last year Mayo Clinic teamed up with USA today and scheduled a Twitter chat about a painful wrist injury. Today a woman who joined that chat is pain free.
AFTER SIX WEEKS OF BEING IN A CAST, IT'S LIBERATION DAY FOR ERIN TURNER.
"VERY ANXIOUS FOR THIS CAST TO COME OFF."
ERIN HAD SURGERY TO REPAIR A PAINFUL SPLIT TEAR OF THE U.T.LIGAMENT IN HER WRIST. AN INJURY THAT IS OFTEN MISDIAGNOSED AND IMPROPERLY TREATED.
"AH, LOOK AT THIS"
BUT HOW SHE GOT FROM HER HOME IN WASHINGTON D.C. INTO DR. RICHARD BERGER'S OPERATING ROOM AT MAYO CLINIC IS A STORY OF TWITTER TRIUMPH.
"THIS IS A MEANS TO DIRECTLY COMMUNICATE POTIENTIALLY WITH HEALTH-CARE PROVIDERS"
YOU SEE, LAST YEAR, DR. BERGER AND MAYO CLINIC TEAMED UP WITH USA TODAY ON A STORY ABOUT THE UT SPLIT TEAR. IT FEATURED PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES PITCHER JASON WERTH WHO HAD THE INJURY. AND FOR ONE HOUR, DR. BERGER, WHO FIGURED OUT HOW TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT IT CORRECTLY, HOSTED A TWITTER CHAT.
"I TELL YOU THAT WAS ONE OF THE MOST INTENSE HOURS I EVER HAD."
ERIN JOINED IN THE VIRTUAL CONVERSATION AND TWEETED ABOUT HER PAINFUL WRIST.
"IT SEEMED MAYBE I COULD GET AN ANSWER OR TWO HERE IF NOTHING ELSE. AND IT WOUND UP THAT I GOT MORE THAN THAT."
A UT SPLIT TEAR RUNS THE ENTIRE LENGHTH OF THE LIGAMENT. THE EXPOSED SURFACE GETS IRRITATED AND CAUSES PAIN. USING SMALL ARTHROSCOPIC TOOLS, DR. BERGER SHAVES AWAY THE DAMAGED TISSUE AND SUTURES THE LIGAMENT BACK TOGETHER. A HIGH TECH OPERATION THAT, FOR ERIN, HAPPENED THANKS TO TWITTER.
"I CAN USE IT TO CONTINUE TO INTERACT WITH DR. BERGER IF I HAVE ANY ISSUES, OR WITH THE REST OF THE MAYO CLINIC STAFF I'VE BEEN TALKING TO, BUT ALSO TO HELP OTHERS."
FOR MEDICAL EDGE, I'M VIVIEN WILLIAMS.
Dr. Berger says he sees Twitter benefiting medicine in these ways: as a means to help doctors communicate with each other, a way for doctors and patients to chat, and as a way for patients to talk to others going through the same thing & a Twitter support group. But he also says in no way should Twitter replace face to face interaction between doctor and patient.
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STATIONS: Per the licensing agreement, please provide a link from your station's website to http://www.MayoClinic.org or voice tag "MayoClinic.org" for more information.