Just FYI: You’re Probably Scaring Your Patients

live-surgery-gone-wrongThere’s no doubt that doctors are highly trained, uniquely skilled professionals. They endure undergraduate education, a rigorous medical school curriculum, unthinkable hours in residency and fellowships – a process that can take 15 years or longer! They do all of this to provide their patients with the best possible care. In the process of gaining this incredible medical knowledge and experience, however, doctors may forget that what they do is sometimes – let’s be frank – really gross. The blood, trauma, pain, etc., associated with surgery and general practice is not for everyone (which is another reason why we appreciate doctors for doing what they do).

Most surgery, for example, involves opening up our bodies to visualize and repair what’s gone awry. The process is an amazing scientific feat. However, it is also generally terrifying for the patient who is being cut open.


That doesn’t stop doctors from wanting to share their live surgery videos with the rest of the world. “A lot of our physicians are really, really excited about a particular procedure, and they assume that the rest of the general public shares their enthusiasm for watching the live surgery,” one of our clients recently told us.

Wouldn’t watching a doctor perform a live surgery help alleviate patient’s fears? Based on the YouTube comments for surgical videos, the answer is a resounding “no.” Go ahead, go to YouTube right now and search for “live surgery,” then read the comments on those videos. We’ll wait.

… What did you think? Did you watch any of the videos, or were the thumbnail previews enough? Don’t misunderstand us, for people who want to see the nitty-gritty of a surgery, live video is great! But for other people (including the author of this post) those videos are scary as hell.

In fact, these videos are considered to be so upsetting that YouTube requires people to log in and verify their age before they can watch them.

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The solution: Our clients use Nucleus medical animations on their websites and in their exam rooms to illustrate surgical procedures and educate patients. The great thing about animations is that they are just as informative as live video, minus the blood and gore. Plus, an animation gives patients the ability to see inside the body in a way that isn’t possible in a live video. Below is our (not so scary) knee replacement animation.


comments2There are few expressions of unease and fear in the comments section for our patient education animations. We work hard to ensure that what we produce increases knowledge and decreases anxiety.

So, to all you docs out there that might want to share your handiwork with the general patient population, you might want to stop and think twice before you do.

Ask yourself: “Am I alleviating my patient’s fears?

If there’s a shadow of doubt, think about contacting us to provide your patients with a refined, “gore-free” version of their procedure.



3 thoughts on “Just FYI: You’re Probably Scaring Your Patients

  1. This was very helpful. I write a health column and I have never explored the You Tube videos as a source of health education materials. I looked at few videos after reading your article and I can see how they were disturbing. Thanks for sharing your work.

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