- Shefali Malhotra, fellow in global journalism12
- 1Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
In October 2022, a Thai surgeon live streamed an operation on the social media app TikTok. The recording made its way to Twitter, causing an intense backlash. Some people complained that the doctor had violated his patient’s privacy and should be severely disciplined. But others pointed out that it has become common practice to share details of treatments on social media with a patient’s consent—why would live streaming be different?
“Follow-up will be carried out according to the medical professional ethics regulations,” said Ittaporn Kanacharoen, secretary general of the Medical Council of Thailand on Twitter.1 The body is investigating and has declined to identify the surgeon, citing confidentiality.
Passakorn Wanchaijiraboon, assistant secretary general of the medical council, told The BMJ that the surgeon’s employer, the Thai Ministry of Public Health, had conducted a formal inquiry and concluded that the video was accidentally live streamed. “The doctor deleted the video immediately and apologised to those involved,” he said, adding that the medical council had set up a new committee to consider such cases—“especially since we now …