Theatre lighting

Working in the Dark

Due largely to the rapid growth of endoscopic surgery and the use of mobile imaging, many anaesthetists find themselves confronted with the challenge of working in a darkened or semi-darkened theatre. Most operating rooms, even those built recently with ceiling-mounted endoscopic screens were not designed to cope with this. They lack directed lighting both for the anaesthetist who may be drawing up from hard to read ampoules to the scrub nurse handling ‘sharps’.

The options could be:
• Refusing to accept low lighting with the possible risk of surgical mishaps or increased operating times.
• Retrofitting the OR with directional spot lighting.
• Using personal lighting; headlights, anyone?
• Mounting battery-powered LED lights on our trolleys.

Before the matter is brought to the attention of an OH&S body or a coronial magistrate, I feel that it is incumbent upon anaesthetists and the hospitals to develop an approach to this situation.

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