Seeing the surgical light

On a recent project at Southampton’s Western General Hospital, illustrating the role of the ODP (Operating Department Practitioner) in UK hospitals, I noticed two instances of new types of lighting in use.

In one operating theatre, where a heart bypass operation was taking place, the hot, directional light from one of the big round traditional operating theatre lights had been replaced by banks of low-power bulbs which had been internally filtered to be blue, green and clear. This bright, diffuse mixture gave a light which was cool in temperature and cool in appearance and evidently reduced stress on the surgical teams and if I were being operated on, I’d be all in favour of my surgeon not being stressed by being under hot lights.

The other instance was in a theatre where Dr Woo was performing a lobectomy (removal of a lobe of the lungs). The surgeon was wearing a new fibre-optic head-light which gave a concentrated and directional beam of light just where it was needed – deep in the patient’s thorax where the illumination from the traditional light was less effective.

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