Thursday, September 29, 2011

Education and Epilepsy – Surgery via Twitter!

Tuesday morning I could not tear myself away from my Twitter feed. The doctors at Aurora Regional Epilepsy Center located at the Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin performed a brain surgery and tweeted live updates. Geoff Nestor, who has epilepsy which is not controlled with medications, was the brave subject of Aurora's first epilepsy surgery on Twitter.

The Social Media Director of the hospital and the Digital Communications staff were the ones actually doing the tweeting (surgeons are good but I don’t think they can tweet and cut at the same time!).

Robert had his own epilepsy surgery in the early 90s (which was way before Twitter). Unfortunately, Robert's surgery did not cure him of his seizures but it was interesting to compare what I was reading yesterday to the stories Robert has of his own surgery. He remembers being awake during the surgery and being shown flashcards and asked several questions about them. Geoff was also awake during the surgery, answering questions, giving shout-outs to his wife and two kids and shown images from a laptop instead of flashcards.

During the surgery, information about Epilepsy was tweeted as were comments from Geoff and his doctor, Dr. George Morris and neurosurgeon, Dr. Shekhar A. Dagam.

Did you know?

The brain tissue itself does not have the ability to feel. When we have a headache, it's nerves around the brain we're feeling. (Dr. Dagam)

The brain makes up 2% of the body's weight and receives 20% more blood flow than any other part of the human anatomy.

Mortality rate among people with epilepsy is 2 to 3 times higher than the general population.

Up to 50,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from status epilepticus (prolonged seizures).

After surgery, 70% of patients are seizure-free, with 85% seeing a significant reduction in seizures.

In over 30% percent of patients, seizures can't be controlled with treatment. Uncontrolled seizures may lead to brain damage and death.

Epilepsy can develop at any age and can be a result of genetics, stroke, head injury, and many other factors.

Federal dollars spent on epilepsy research pale in comparison to those spent on other diseases.

I am grateful for the advances in technology which not only medically help but also help educate about epilepsy and other conditions! Read more about the surgery here.


Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,

I was one of the digital communications staff tweeting at Aurora's recent epilepsy Twitter surgery. Thank you so much for following and talking about it on your wonderful blog. Keep up the great work and we appreciate your support.

Peter Balistrieri
Manager, Digital & Social Media
Aurora Health Care

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

It was so amazing to follow the surgery and to see the effort put forth by you and your staff. You guys (and, okay, the surgeons too) did a great job with this. It was a privilege to follow.

medical malpractice lawyers said...

I think this is a one of a kind coverage. But I would not recommend twitter during the surgery's progress.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

I don't think I'd like my surgeon tweeting either but, luckily, they were surrounded by a team of people (the social media team) who was doing the tweeting. :-) It was quite fascinating.