Coronavirus Social: A Twitter Thumbs Up for Docs Who Rock

What your doctor is reading on Medscape.com:

MAY 14, 2020 -- Today on Twitter, it's all about docs and music, some well received, some not so much.

Docs Rock Out on Twitter

Atul Grover, MD, the executive vice president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, was searching for a break from the barrage of coronavirus news when he noticed a colleague's tweet about learning to play guitar. Grover flashed back to a time during medical school when he taught himself how to play, and he decided to start #DocsWhoRock on Twitter.

"It was an emotional response to seeing colleagues out there and at risk, and fighting more death and despair than anyone should have to," he told Medscape Medical News.

Grover posted a video of himself singing and strumming the guitar using the #DocsWhoRock hashtag in late March and said he was surprised that the idea immediately caught fire. Soon other physicians started tagging and posting their own music videos, often featuring their spouses, kids, and pets.

In April, Grover began challenging users with themes like "80s week" and noticed even more docs adding their voices.

"As people have joined in, I'm hearing from people who are far more talented than I ― and that is something that doesn't surprise me," he said.

Twitter Fans Sing Physician Musician's Praise

Grover praises one physician in particular for her vocal chops, University of Chicago Medicine hospitalist Maylyn Martinez, MD.

Martinez participates regularly in #DocsWhoRock but also posts a song a day on her own. Her gorgeous voice seems to stir the emotions of her dedicated following.

"My friends and I just were talking about being more positive on twitter. I listened to your beautiful voice and started crying from happiness. Thank you for sharing," one user tweeted in response to a recent video post.

The only formal musical training she's had was in high school choir, Martinez told Medscape Medical News, but she was the lead singer in a band for 10 years before heading to med school.

Martinez says she doesn't really know what compelled her to start tweeting out her music. "I think maybe I was just a little bit overwhelmed with coronavirus and the 24-hour news cycle," she said. "It's a simple, easy little thing that I can do, and I am glad that makes people happy," she said.

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Thumbs Down for Music Video Tribute

But not all music-related tweets got a happy reaction from Med Twitter. One pediatric critical care medicine fellow was less than impressed that their hospital board produced a music video for National Hospital Week as a thank you to staff for working so diligently throughout the pandemic.

COVID19 Physicians, an account that posts "anonymous submissions from physicians battling the SARS-CoV-2 virus across the US," tweeted out a screenshot of the partially redacted memo sent by the unidentified hospital board.

"As a heartfelt gift to you this year, we arranged for a musician to volunteer to write a special song for you and a member of our team to produce a music video for you," reads the memo, which included a link to the video.

"My hospitals' generous 'thank you'...a music video ― an incredulous PCCM fellow," COVID19 Physicians added above the screen shot with several frowny-face-with-eye-roll emojis added for emphasis.

The hospital's attempt at gratitude struck many Twitter users as a bit tone deaf.

"It's better than noth... never mind," read one tweet from a user with the handle, @HappyNurse. This was a typical reaction.

Liz Neporent is Medscape's executive editor of social media and community. She has previously worked at ABC News National as well as other major news outlets. She's based in New York City and can be reached at [email protected] or  @lizzyfit on Twitter.

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