The other side of the OR door

I’ve often written of how surgery day is excruciatingly long. They may tell you that it will take four hours, but that is rarely true. And every minute seems to drag as you wait for news of your loved one. You just want this to be over – but nothing good comes of a short operation. The longer, the better – the doctors are still working, still fighting for you. A short operation could mean that the fight is over and the good guys lost.

It’s the same on the other side of the Operating Room door. When you are waiting, just standing there twiddling your thumbs, time drags. When surgery begins and everyone has a job to do, time flies. “Five people working as one unit,” Gene Hackman said in the movie Hoosiers, and a Surgical Unit is a team in every sense of the word. Everyone has a job to do, and when you work together long enough, you even begin to think together. In this article appearing on KevinMD.com, Dr. Bruce Campbell explains that time distorts in operating rooms, too. But it seems to act in reverse:

I look up at the clock. It seems like only a few minutes have passed since I had anxiously waited to begin the case. Five hours have disappeared like an instant.

Go and read Dr. Campbell’s work.

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