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Operating Room Confidential
Cover of Operating Room Confidential
Operating Room Confidential
What Really Goes On When You Go Under

Go behind the scenes of the OR in this "fact-filled, poignant, and funny" account by an anesthesiologist (Booklist).

Even patients who've spent time in the operating room don't really know much about them—thanks to the important work of anesthesiologists like Dr. Paul Whang. But here, he takes readers into the hospital and past the OR doors—fully alert.

Combining personal stories with staff experiences, he reveals hidden truths about what goes on during surgery and recounts both the humdrum and the quirky, strange, and bizarre occurrences that shape a regular hospital day. Answering questions such as What do doctors talk about during surgery? and If a surgical instrument falls to the floor, is the five-second rule observed?, this is a must-read for anyone who's ever wondered how realistic shows like ER, Grey's Anatomy, and House really are.

Go behind the scenes of the OR in this "fact-filled, poignant, and funny" account by an anesthesiologist (Booklist).

Even patients who've spent time in the operating room don't really know much about them—thanks to the important work of anesthesiologists like Dr. Paul Whang. But here, he takes readers into the hospital and past the OR doors—fully alert.

Combining personal stories with staff experiences, he reveals hidden truths about what goes on during surgery and recounts both the humdrum and the quirky, strange, and bizarre occurrences that shape a regular hospital day. Answering questions such as What do doctors talk about during surgery? and If a surgical instrument falls to the floor, is the five-second rule observed?, this is a must-read for anyone who's ever wondered how realistic shows like ER, Grey's Anatomy, and House really are.

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  • Operating Room Confidential

    A Day in the Operating Room

    The operating room is the heart of the hospital where dramatic events and major, life-altering decisions occur. I’m sure that most people have no idea about some of the strange, unusual and unexpected events that occur here. You can watch shows like ER, Grey’s Anatomy and House and think you know what’s going on — but in fact you really don’t.

    I’m going to describe what working in the operating room is truly like. Hopefully, I can help you experience the operating room from a different perspective.

    For many, a trip to the operating room is a frightening experience. You’re going “under the knife,” facing the unknown.

    But I want to reassure you that you’ll be cared for by an experienced team that is intimately acquainted with the routines and rhythms of the O.R. And though some team members may have unusual personalities and follow what may seem to be strange rituals, they have a lot of pride in their work and will care for you to the best of their abilities.

    Every department in the hospital strives to attain the accepted “Standards of Care.” In the O.R., the goals are not just to attain, but to exceed those standards — not only because we are directly responsible for people’s lives, but also because it’s what most of us demand from ourselves in our work. It may seem trite, but it is true — the operating room is the beating heart of the hospital.

    Greens

    Each day starts with the act of going into the locker room to change into surgical greens. Like a hockey player who puts his jersey and equipment on before a game, we prepare for a day in surgery by donning greens, slipping on the surgical cap and tying the mask.

    O.R. greens are not designed for comfort or style. If you’re not of average height or build, they definitely won’t fit well. Their function is to keep you clean and relatively cool. There was a time, working as a resident at a downtown teaching hospital, when the greens weren’t separate tops and bottoms, but were composed of a single jumpsuit. Male residents loved these jumpsuits, because they titillated us with the deep V that exposed the cleavage of female residents, who struggled to cover up. We couldn’t fail to notice how tightly these suits hugged their bodies. Our eyes were very adept at outlining the braless attributes of certain classmates.

    Instruments

    A buzz of activity starts each morning, as the nurses in each room prepare for the day’s surgeries. Pre-wrapped surgical instruments, specialized solutions and sheets of synthetic fibers that act as barriers to infection, called surgical drapes, are opened on sanitized stainless steel trays.

    Because of the complexity of modern surgery and the myriad instruments used during each procedure, one is almost assured that some instrument will be missing or mistakenly substituted. This inevitably causes a delay in the proceedings. Curse-filled and panic-stricken calls from each operating room to spd (Sterile Processing Department) ensure the proper instruments are sent up immediately.

    I always find it curious that many surgical instruments are named after dead surgeons. Instead of “blunt-ended suction,” it’s called a Yankauer. In place of the “three-fingered clawed retractor,” we use a Senn-Miller. I suppose it’s an honor to have a surgical instrument that has saved many lives named after you, like a Balfour Retractor or Allis Forceps. And it’s certainly easier to ask for the Balfour Retractor than the “adjustable selfretaining retractor with fenestrated side blades.”

About the Author-
  • Paul Whang MD FRCP is a Staff Anaesthetist at a busy urban hospital in Toronto, ON. As an anaesthetist, he works alongside all the surgeons and nurses as a key member of the O.R. team. He also consults with numerous hospital specialists, who follow patients before and after their operations. Amongst his colleagues, he is known for his easygoing personality, irreverent sense of humour, and as a keen observer of the human condition.

Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2010
    Fear of the mysterious world of sleep is a primordial emotion, as new parents quickly learn. Though few would deny that anesthesia is a true blessing of the modern world, the thought of surrendering to it provokes long-buried anxieties. Whang, a hospital anesthetist in Toronto, attempts to soothe these worries with an informative and lively guide to his profession and the hermetic world of the operating room in which he practices. Writing for a general audience, Whang discusses his experiences as an anesthetist for a wide range of procedures. He tells tales out of school of surgeries gone awry, the operating room pecking order, surgeons' choice of music and superstitions, and even some medical students' rite of passage, operating-room sex. Though he plays a supporting actor to the surgeon in the drama of an operation, Whang has years of observing patients' vital signs, and these must have made him a perceptive observer of hospital life. One entertaining chapter discusses research on the Myers-Briggs classifications of various medical specialists. Whang also offers practical information for potential patients on what to look for in a good surgeon and what to expect in the recovery room, and he answers the FAQs of his patients facing surgery. VERDICT This book provides a distinctive view of a medical specialty little known by the general public. Although the author's genial style and professional expertise make for an engaging read, his book could be better organized into a coherent narrative.Kathy Arsenault, St. Petersburg, FL

    Copyright 2010 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Operating Room Confidential
Operating Room Confidential
What Really Goes On When You Go Under
Paul Whang
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