Rock N Roll in the OR

                    There are sounds in the operating room: the clash of instruments, the rhythmic breathing of a patient on a ventilator, the EKG tracing beeping away, the cacophony of laconic orders and requests from the surgeon or the scrub nurse. I suppose every surgeon wants to think he or she is making music while operating—a symphony, a rock opera, a silly little love song, a ballad with deep meaning. The presence of…

An Old Italian Man and the Modern Surgeon

The operation didn’t go so well. No big problems or catastrophes, but just a series of small missteps by the staff. Instruments were not in the room, suture material wasn’t on the field, nurses didn’t understand my routines, and my assistant wasn’t too responsive. Granted, it was a new crew and I was patient with them, but we just plodded along with neither rhythm nor efficiency. In the end the operation was a success, but it wasn’t pretty. Annoyed, I…

No Curtain Calls, No Tony Nominations

It is called the operating room. In past times and in some circles it might be called the operating theater. If you are British, you might call it the operating theatre. One has visions of the Thomas Eakins painting “The Agnew Clinic” where an operation–interestingly, a partial mastectomy–plays out in an amphitheater- like setting. We don’t know if it’s “in the round.” The seats are occupied by the surgeon’s colleagues and curious students. The painter even managed to put himself…

The Sorcerer’s Scalpel and Paperboys in Early Morning Hours

  A 7;30 start in the operating room. How I love 7:30 starts. On the highway to the operating room at 6:30. I won’t be late. I respect the hour. The city is still asleep. Not much traffic. It was an easy drive.  I thought about the days of my surgical training. The surgical team would arrive in the hospital by 6 AM for rounds, catching up with the night’s events and planning the needed tasks for the day. Then,…