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.