April 8, 2015

Highly Recommended: How Doctors Really Talk

Rob Humbracht

How Doctors Really Talk

Patients expect their doctors to react with decorum and decency to their conditions, no matter how weird or gruesome. But what happens when your remove the patient, and you only get the gruesome (and the people who like to geek out about these conditions)?

Enter: Figure1

Figure One is, essentially, Instagram for doctors. Want to see something gruesome or weird that is noteworthy even for battle-hardened doctors? Figure One is the place to go.

A patient who swallowed a USB key? An Ex Vivo Lung profusion? A patient whose big toe was chewed off by a rat? Probably anything you can imagine is there.

A recent podcast by Reply All, a podcast about the intersection of online and offline, looks at the gruesome images found on Figure 1. And if, like me, you don't particularly want to SEE these images, well, then a podcast is the perfect way to get the gist.

The podcast first dives into the legal ramifications of Figure 1. Patients have to sign a waiver of release, so only pictures that are okayed get released to the app. Plus, picture-takers are not allowed to show the patient's face, so you only see the picture of the relevant gross stuff.

The more interesting part of the podcast is how doctors react to the content. Bad jokes abound here. Acronyms and emoticons abound. ROFL, LMAO, winking smiley faces... It sure doesn't seem like the appropriate response from a doctor reading about late-stage skin cancer, does it?

The entire podcast is worth a listen and is highly recommended:

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