Nikolai Begg – TRANSCRIPT
The first time I stood in the operating room and watched a real surgery I had no idea what to expect. I was a college student in engineering. I thought it was going to be like on TV. Ominous music playing in the background, beads of sweat pouring down the surgeon’s face But it wasn’t like that at all. There was music playing on this day, I think it was Madonna’s Greatest Hits. And there was plenty of conversation.
Not just about the patient’s heart rate, but about sports and weekend plans. And since then the more surgeries I watched, the more I realized this is how it is. In some weird way, it’s just another day at the office. But every so often the music gets turned down, everyone stops talking, and stares at exactly the same thing. And that’s when you know that something absolutely critical and dangerous is happening.
The first time I saw that I was watching a type of surgery called “laparoscopic surgery.” And for those of you who are unfamiliar laparoscopic surgery instead of the large open incision you might be used to with surgery, a laparoscopic surgery is where the surgeon creates these three or more small incisions in the patient. And then inserts these long, thin instruments and a camera, and actually does the procedure inside the patient. This is great because there’s much less risk of infection, much less pain, shorter recovery time. But there is a trade off.
Because these incisions are created with a long pointed device called a “trocar.” And the way the surgeon uses this device is that he takes it and he presses it into the abdomen until it punctures through. And now the reason why everyone in the operating room was staring at that device on that day was because he had to be absolutely careful not to plunge it through and puncture it into the organs and blood vessels below.
But this problem should seem pretty familiar to all of you, because I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it somewhere else. Remember this? You knew that at any second that straw was going to plunge through, and you didn’t know if it was going to go out the other side and straight into your hand, or if you were going to get juice everywhere, but you were terrified.