Twitter your way out of a bad hospital
When computer security consultant Sarah Cortes shattered a vertebrae from a 50-foot dive, she hacked her way out of a bad hospital with her iPhone and Twitter.
According to her story, the hospital personnel lied, withheld information from her, refused her any connection to the outside world, tried to put her on narcotics she didn’t need, and pushed her to get immediate reconstructive spine surgery. Their tactics seemed to have the goal of keeping Cortes in the hospital for a lengthy recuperation, paid for by her private insurance.
“Who will be liable if you leave here against medical advice?” a doctor asked, trying to intimidate me into obedience. “Yes, who, indeed?” I demanded to know. He fell silent, aware of the real answer. “If you leave against medical advice, your insurance will pay nothing of your bills so far, and it is in the many thousands! Your transport is medically unnecessary! We are the best qualified to operate on you! If you go to Boston, it is up to you to pay the expense, we cannot authorize it!” All lies, I would later learn.
Cortes contacted friends, community, and doctors through Twitter and her iPhone. She broke through the hospital’s paternalistic refusal to let her leave, and their lies and incompetence, by using Twitter to contact a wide community, a network of people with great resources.
I think that counts as a DIY hack. Though Cortes was not paralyzed, I think that it’s very interesting that her spinal injury factored into the hospital personnel’s attempts to take away her agency — her ability to make her own decisions. They classified her as “disabled” and thus felt free to take over her life in the name of “help”.