How Facebook saved the day for an emergency department

facebook patient groups

A 34 year old female was brought in to the emergency department Friday afternoon. She was a mother and a quick search of her belongings
provided her business card. It was the card of a obviously successful businesswoman; however, it did not provide any further useful information to explain her presentation. The family doctor was contacted. She explained that besides a remote history of a short depressive episode the patient was quite healthy. She was unable to assist in contacting any family members.

The patient was displaying ‘‘bizarre behavior,’’ along with refusing to open her eyes for an examination. A psychiatric cause was probable after careful diagnostic procedures. The team decided to look up her and her man’s name on Google and via Facebook they were able to contact him. He went to pick up their child from daycare and then to the ED to support his spouse in distress.

The use of Google and Facebook as a last resort went very well in this case, nevertheless in the same journal a med student nearly got sent away from med school after posting an inappropriate statement as a comment on facebook.

My posting on Facebook was brought to the attention of some of the administrators at our institution as a violation of its honor code, and it nearly ended my status as a medical student and my dream of becoming a doctor. As a result of my actions, I was required to make an appearance before the Student Promotions Committee to explain what had happened and to explain why I should be allowed to continue my medical studies. Needless to say, it was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever been through.

It’s time for “social media competence” in med school, with a course during the curriculum. What do you think?
Ben-Yakov, M., & Snider, C. (2011). How Facebook Saved Our Day! Academic Emergency Medicine DOI: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2011.01199.x

Strausburg, M. (2011). How Facebook Almost Ended My Career With a Single Click Academic Emergency Medicine DOI: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2011.01198.x