Something Strange about Dr. Strange

Most love a good operating room scene where a brilliant mind and steady hand save the day. Dr. Strange fulfills this role in his self-titled movie and was most enjoyable to watch.

However, there is one scene that concerned me.

See anything strange besides the man who carries the name?

The two main characters are creating a burr hole in the skull to be able to retrieve the bullet lodge near the medulla. The are in full sterile attire except for their masks.

Several years ago, I was called to the OR to assist with the removal of a brain tumor guided with ultrasound. No one in that room went without a mask covering their mouth and noise. In fact, I was not even allowed to enter the suite without a mask in place.

All of the surgeons, nurses and surgical assistants surrounding the table also wore face shield to protect their eyes from any splatter of the patient’s biological fluids.

So you can imagine my disdain when watching the movie, Dr. Strange, and discovering two surgeons hovering over a patient’s head, creating burr holes in his skull without masks. Upon further research, the wearing of masks in the OR has caused some controversy.

According to Lisa Maragakis, Senior Director of Epidemiology and Infection Control at John Hopkins Health System, some studies have shown the absence of a mask in the OR “have virtually no bearing on the patient outcomes when surgeries are performed by healthy doctors in sanitary operating rooms.” (Maragakis, 2016) In some European hospitals, surgeons are no longer required to wear masks.

However, she also discusses what happens when a surgeon sneezes. Personally if it were my open brain, I’d not want my surgeon’s droplets nestling into my head wound.

Here in the US, most hospital and operating room protocols still require our surgeons to don the traditional surgical mask and encourage facial shields.

Perhaps, one day that will change, but right now, I’m glad wearing surgical masks are not strange.

References:

Sugarman, J. (2016). What Do Surgical Masks Really Protect Against? Retrieved May 28, 2018.
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Shannon Moore Redmon writes romantic suspense stories, to entertain and share the gospel truth of Jesus Christ. Her stories dive into the healthcare environment where Shannon holds over twenty years of experience as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Her extensive work experience includes Radiology, Obstetrics/Gynecology and Vascular Surgery.

As the former Education Manager for GE Healthcare, she developed her medical professional network across the country. Today, Shannon teaches ultrasound at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and utilizes many resources to provide accurate healthcare research for authors requesting her services.

She is a member of the ACFW and Blue Ridge Mountain Writer’s Group. Shannon is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. She lives and drinks too much coffee in North Carolina with her husband, two boys and her white foo-foo dog, Sophie.

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