In this week's episode, Richard was galled to learn that Bailey was live-tweeting an operation. But Bailey contended that, when done ethically and correctly, it could be a great way to teach and interact with other surgeons. But the fiction of Grey's aside, do real-life surgeons really tweet during surgeries? You betcha. CNN reported on such an instance in February 2009, when a chief resident tweeted about an operation to remove a cancerous kidney tumor — and he did so for the same reason as Bailey: not to entertain but to inform. Specifically, he wanted others to know that the tumor could be removed without compromising the whole kidney.
Doctors aren't the only ones Twittering about surgeries. Four months earlier, CNN reported, a man tweeted during his own varicose vein surgery to keep friends and family in the loop and to connect with patients with the same issue. And this past December, a New Jersey teen in his high school's medical club observed a knee surgery and tweeted the blow-by-blow to his friends in the club.