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October 3, 2005

What's wrong with this picture?*


The photo above appeared in yesterday's Washington Post over a story by Nelson Hernandez about the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, where scientists work with the world's most dangerous viruses, such as Ebola and Marburg.

The facility is a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory and employs the most stringent possible safety and containment precautions.

Among them are the protective suits and helmets worn by those who work there.

I hate working in suits like that.

I did so back when I was at UCLA and laminar flow was the new new thing in the orthopedic operating suite for joint replacement surgery.

The surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and even the orderlies and attendants entering the room had to wear spacesuits with breathing hoses attached to the back.

Unbelievably uncomfortable and completely the opposite of what to me is one of the best things about being an anesthesiologist: you get to stay in your pj's all day.

Scrubs are the softest, most lightweight material imaginable to start with and I always take a few extra moments in the a.m. to pick out the very oldest, silkiest ones from the shelves.

And you can be sure that when I select those that will accompany me home in my backpack — oh, my bad! — to serve as my sleepwear only the very best make the cut.

*Look at the red sign in the photo above: it's there because of bioterrorism precautions.

So how did photographer Ricky Carioti of the Washington Post manage to get away with taking a picture?

Too late to retract it, would be my guess....

October 3, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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