More than 11,000 babies are born in the United States every day. But so far, only one birth has been live-tweeted by doctors. Thanks to the social-media-savvy staff at the Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston — who have already live-tweeted an open-heart surgery and a brain surgery — the Twittersphere was welcomed on Feb. 20 to a graphic behind-the-scenes look at a c-section birth. Under the username @houstonhospital and using the hashtag #MHbaby, a medical team tweeted the play-by-play, including photos and videos of the prep, surgery, and delivery. The doctors also responded to questions posed on the thread. The increasingly frenetic result is a riveting moment-by-moment account of a standard surgical procedure rendered as dramatic as a Hollywood action film, blood and gore included.
At the center of this social media experiment is an anonymous 39-year-old woman, who is in the 39th week of her third trimester, and her husband. Readers of the feed are taken from a quiet photo in the woman's hospital room to a graphic video of a surgeon making the first incision all the way to the baby's first breath. The Twitter team kindly made sure to include regular tweets reminding followers that the contents of the birth surgery "may be GRAPHIC IN NATURE." Indeed, the resulting videos, especially, are not for the faint of heart or stomach. For a full, uncensored rundown check out @houstonhospital's feed. Here, a safe-for-work highlight reel of the fascinating medical event.
The regional anesthesia will block pain sensation from the nipples to the knees. #MHbaby— Memorial Hermann(@houstonhospital) February 20, 2013
Scalpel used to make incision on the abdomen w/ a smooth firm pressure of blade as it moves across the skin #MHbaby— Memorial Hermann(@houstonhospital) February 20, 2013
@alexkayash The incision is approx. 4 inches. -Dr. L— Memorial Hermann(@houstonhospital) February 20, 2013
Surgeon is cautious during this incision as the bladder may be within close proximity to incision #MHbaby— Memorial Hermann(@houstonhospital) February 20, 2013
A retractor called "bladder blade" used to pull lowest part of the opening downward (toward patient's feet)— Memorial Hermann(@houstonhospital) February 20, 2013
Standby...for baby #MHBaby— Memorial Hermann(@houstonhospital) February 20, 2013
The umbilical cord is clamped in two places and cut between the two clamps #MHbaby— Memorial Hermann(@houstonhospital) February 20, 2013
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- How to stop Black Thursday — and still score that big screen
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- How to deep fry a turkey
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- 10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2014
Subscribe to the Week