Docs create code of ethical behavior for sharing videos of surgery on social media

Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram have become hotspots for doctors to drum up business and perform live procedures.

But there is concern that this new way of advertising is crossing a line and creating a social media circus.

Dr. Clark Shierle is a board certified plastic surgeon with Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. He and his colleagues have created a code of ethical behavior for sharing videos of plastic surgery on social media. They’ve been published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal.

He said seeing the rising number of tasteless videos online made them concerned. But it was a picture of two surgeons cradling skin fat from a tummy tuck procedure with baby face emoji’s superimposed that had them saying enough is enough.

"You're objectifying the patient ...you're making ridiculous comments about parts of this patients body while they're asleep under General Anesthesia."

So Shierle and his colleagues have crafted the first code of ethical behavior for board certified plastic surgeons. It includes the four principles of medical ethics: respect for autonomy of the patient, only promoting what's best for the patient, living by the code of "do no harm" and finally justice.

Scherle says though some of the patents may have signed up to be a part of these shocking videos, he believes physicians do have the responsibility to protect patients from themselves.

"It's very possible that at 20 years old, you may enjoy the video for a Brazilian butt lift broadcast for millions to watch. But at 40 years old, you looking for a job someday, may not like that fact that it's the first thing that shows up on Google searches of your name."

Dr. Schierle and his team are hoping this new code of ethics will be adopted and will be used as a gold standard for all surgeons to abide by.

The suggested guidelines were presented earlier this month to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

MORE INFO: www.northwesternplastics.com

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