Lights! Camera! Incision! (Brought To You By The Scalpel Company)

from the this-surgery-sponsored-by... dept

theodp writes “Launched six years ago as a way for doctors to bone up on new techniques by watching their peers perform surgeries, has recently begun attracting a new audience: patients who are curious about new procedures. Weekly viewership of the live and on-demand webcasts of surgeries has grown from 62,000 to 131,000 over the past year, with consumers making up 60% of the audience. And yes, video Podcasts are available.” Of course, theodp leaves out perhaps the more interesting (and partly disturbing) part of the service. Each video is sponsored by a medical equipment manufacturer who is using the surgery to showcase their product — in the best light possible. So these aren’t representative surgeries, but ones where the equipment all works perfectly, which could be a bit misleading.

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Comments on “Lights! Camera! Incision! (Brought To You By The Scalpel Company)”

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dorpus says:

Half-witted patients

So this will contribute to the flood of patients going into the doctor’s office demanding designer treatments. They will not want to listen to the doctor’s advice that it is not suitable for their condition.

Conversely, could it be used as a recruitment tool for e.g. medical researchers who want to stick tubes up urethras to peek into the bladders of healthy children, or drill a hole into their bone to obtain a marrow autopsy? I was reading about a scenario like that in ethics training yesterday. Under current IRB guidelines, only the consent of the child and one parent is required.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Discount for advertising

I can see that TOS…

“For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights to the organ in question. However, by agreeing to receive a free surgery, you hereby grant ORLive a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of and display the surgery video in connection with the ORLive Website and ORLive’s (and its successor’s) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the ORLive Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. You also hereby grant each user of the ORLive Website a non-exclusive license to access your surgery video through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display and perform such video as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service. The foregoing license granted by you terminates once you remove the organ from your body.”

Kevin says:

We deal with this a lot

I’m an engineer at a small orthopedic surgical hospital, and we do several of these OR-Live webcasts each year. We also host visitors from around the world on an almost weekly basis who are brought here by implant, medical device, and surgical tool makers so that they can showcase their newest products and the techniques using those products. All of our visitors are either surgeons or sales reps with the device manufacturers. I have no idea who is watching the OR-Live webcasts, though I know that a fair number of our staff watch them. I don’t think that there is anything unusual or shady about this practice, and I can draw some pretty strong parallels to how things are done in the IT industry.

Yes, the manufacturer wants to see their product shown in a good light. But the surgeons performing the cases also want things to be shown in a good light, as they are usually experts in their particular field of medicene. The companies aren’t hiring “Dr. John, a recent graduate from Bob’s Discount Medical School” to do the cases.

I’m sure that there are probably some potential patients who see the cases and start getting ideas, but I don’t think that it is unreasonable for a patient to want to see a procedure that they are considering having. Not only can the patient be better educated, but it can help alleviate some of the apprehension of the impending surgery if they have seen how it is does. The important thing to remember is that every patient is different, and that any surgeon worth his salt will tell his patients this. But I don’t think that the patients are getting a sanitized or edited view of the case. After all, the webcast is truly broadcast live (or at least in the cases that we have participated in). I’ve seen things go perfectly, and I’ve seen difficult cases that go twice as long as they were expected to. This is the reality of surgery.

chris (profile) says:

showcasing surgical research

i work for a big mid-western university and they do this sort of thing all the time, tho they do it in-house, not with OR-Live.

like any form of research, surgical research is expensive and time consuming, so surgical researchers get needed funds from a number of places, like the equipment manufacturers, the government, philanthropic organizations, and even the military (in the case of tele-medicine, or surgery by remote controlled robots).

showcasing your research is a good way to promote the research and get more funding. most of the progress in minimally invasive techniques (laproscopy, endoscopy) has been made in this manner.

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