General

Do you add patients on Facebook?

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4 Jul 2016 - General
 

I met John (not his real name for privacy purposes) for the first time at the ER. He's a 35 year-old artist who suffers from malignant cerebral infarct. I assisted my attending in doing an early decompressive hemicraniectomy on him, which fortunately saved his life. Being the assigned neurosurgery resident to attend to his case, I saw him regularly during his entire hospital course. He was up and about after a week. He was then advised to proceed with physical therapy for dense hemiplegia on the right. At first, he was too depressed to go through therapy, but my constant encouragement convinced him to undergo rehabilitation. Before he went home, he asked if he could add me on Facebook. Honestly, I wanted to politely decline because I want to have a clear delineation between my private and professional life. But I ended up agreeing to his request due to compassionate reasons.

 Do you grant friend requests from patients and their relatives in social media?

 If you have similar experiences, please feel free to share them.

 

Thanks for sharing this topic. Although this has been discussed by Jennifer, I think there is still utility is discussing it. In most of the discussion, there appears to be a assumption that one can only have a single social media account(facebook etc) and hence sharing it meant we are sharing our personal lives with patients. But I think that just like we can have a professional email for work mail and a personal email for personal affairs. There should not be any problems in in establishing a ...
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No, unless this patient has really become a friend. My clinic has a Facebook Page so patients can message me through it so I find it gives me a good barrier from them. I, however, cannot NOT accept a patient if they message me personally and ask me to add them. I find it very hard to be "rude" personally, but I can leave a friend request lying around for years and not bother to approve it. Adding patients can sometimes be difficult because although I don't exactly rant on social me...
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I have several requests from patients and their relatives to be added as Facebook friends. Let us first accept and understand the concept of friend on Facebook is a very loose one. We generally believe that the friends we make or accept on Facebook are not true friends but just acquaintances who we call as friends for want of any other appropriate terminology. On the other hand, there are people who literally live on their social media accounts and mention each and everything they do or feel on ...
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Oh that must've been hard with your patient messaging you like that. Good you were able to limit that relationship. Yes I am sure the sting of not being added on Facebook would last all too long. We will remain to be good doctors to them so that won't change. We definitely just want a little space which patients in our culture tend to forget. It is drawing the line for being personable. I don't want to seem mean by shutting them out but it is necessary to maintain the doctor image. N...
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@Jennifer: Yeah, actually it dissolves the patient doctor relationship. Actually, I regret adding that particular patient on Facebook because he during the first few months, he would consistently send me a message wanting to have a conversation. He would ask personal questions that are quite inappropriate for a patient to ask his doctor. Anyway, he is still a Facebook friend, but I decided to limit my conversations with him. Maybe, he sort-of understood so he doesn’t send a message that often an...
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Hi Jennifer, sorry I only read your post on social media just now. Anyway, to answer your question back there; since I already added some patients on Facebook, I have decided not to post anything personal and I am also very mindful about what I say on social media especially about opinions on current events etc. I am quite conservative with what I post. I avoid posting personal photos, especially involving trips with family and friends. I also tell my family and friends to avoid tagging me becau...
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We make significant connections with our patients. Especially when our rapport is exceptional we sometimes have difficulties drawing the line. I have had the same issue as you with patients trying to add me or asking me in person if they could add me. I have tried to figure out ways to change the topic, which makes it awkward as I didn't answer their question, but I feel it necessary. We need to maintain a professional persona. Showing our personal lives to patients is unfortunately not a go...
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