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January 11, 2006

BehindTheMedspeak: A treadmill in the O.R.?


It just occurred to me today.

No specialty better lends itself to being performed while on a treadmill than anesthesiology.

When I'm in the O.R. I pace constantly, in a circle around the perimeter of the room.

I walk slowly but steadily.

The nurses and surgeons don't even notice it anymore, they're so used to it.

I'm tempted sometimes to get a pedometer to see just how much distance I cover in a day.

Doing a rough calculation, I've come up with numbers like 5-10 miles in an average 6-8 hour day.

I started standing instead of sitting during cases back during my residency but eventually took to using a chair like the overwhelming majority of my colleagues.

In recent years I've gone back to standing and now pacing.

The circulating nurses like it because I give them my chair, which is by far the nicest one in the room, what with its pneumatic height control and nice padded seat and back.

It would be a lot easier on my legs if I just set up a treadmill between the anesthesia machine and the O.R. table and spent my time on it.

O.R. floors are really, really hard.

The treadmill would let me see exactly how far I walked each day, plus I'd get a better view of the surgical field from up on high.

At 0.7 mph no one would be able to tell I was moving.

And when it comes time to take you into the O.R. with me to see just how much boredom — and terror — are involved in administering anesthesia, the treadmill will provide a wonderful camera mount.

I better pass this on to Dr. Jim Levine (below),


the treadmill bandwagon parade leader currently striding out up at the Mayo Clinic, for his take.

January 11, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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I would like to see exercise bikes in elementary school classrooms....very anti-child environment, especially bad for motion-prone boys.

Posted by: Mb | Jan 11, 2006 1:50:20 PM

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