Facebook Saved my Son’s Life

Please check out the short but thought provoking SLATE story, Facebook Saved my Son’s Life: My social network helped diagnose a rare disease that our doctors initially missed by Deborah Copaken Kogan.

The piece reads like a chapter out of a Clay Shirky book, highlighting the growing importance of Health 2.0 solutions and Participatory Medicine tactics. In just two pages, Kogan documents the way her social network helped her re-assess her son’s strep diagnoses, overcome doubt and get him lifesaving medical attention.

There are also a few interesting characters to take note of. One being the non-alarmist people in her immediate network and the way they’re contrasted with an, arguably, more involved virtual network. Health 2.0 also loves the hip doctor who supports Kogan’s involvement in the diagnostic process and use of social technology (+1 Doctor Points).

We’ll also note that the story does not leave you “liking” this woman. You’ll notice that some of the comments go on to criticize Kogan for being selfish or neglectful - that she was putting her career before the health of her son. However, there is great value in her honest account of events. She shares everything from her unflattering thought process to the awkward conflict she faced with her partner and explains bits of the professional reasoning that delayed an earlier trip to the hospital.

There’s no easy-to-love hero here but it’s a great example of the way tech is changing the way people see themselves in the continuum of care.

One Response to Facebook Saved my Son’s Life

  1. Jeffrey Benabio, MD says:

    Atul Gwande and others argue that ability to work in a team is a critical skill for today’s physician. Social media can provide powerful tools for physicians to work as teams and a team of average physicians is always better than one smart one.

    In this case the pediatrician was saved from complete failure by the mother and her friends. Although not traditionally members of the healthcare team, they turned out to be the most valuable players.

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