Weekend America 2008.03.08 – Listening In in the O.R. with Dr. Atul Gawande

Dr. Atul Gawande

Indie rocker Kim Deal from the Breeders crooned from the iPod docked in the operating room where Dr. Atul Gawande and his team were performing a thyroidectomy. Wearing something that looks like a shower cap, and booties over my shoes, I felt like another member of Dr. Gawande’s team, which is made up of several people: the senior resident, the anesthesiologist, the circulating nurse, a medical student and the scrub.

“Something of a myth about the way people understand the operating room is that it’s not all about the surgeon,” Dr. Gawande laughs, “or about whether my hands are shaking. Absolutely I have to be able to concentrate and know what I’m doing, but so does everybody else. And having a good operation for each of the patients I take care of in a day means making sure that we can all function as a team. And I find that having music helps us all perform well, as a team.”

To the strains of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” Dr. Gawande’s team busily prepared the area on the patient’s neck for the operation. In this episode of Listening In, I got a chance to go to Boston and hear the playlist that Dr. Gawande plays in the OR, and talk to his staff about how it flows with their work.

Hear the original broadcast on Weekend America

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