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Music in the OR: Mandatory Mozart?


Music has long been a common presence in the operating room, but some now want to ban the practice, fearful it might cause distractions. Perhaps there's a better option.

An article about banning cell phones in the OR got a lot response. Now we hear about how playing music in the OR can be a distraction and interfere with communications during surgery.

Doctors don't have much control of things in the hospital any more. But one thing that remains a cherished part of the surgical culture is that the operating surgeon gets to choose the music. You can tell a lot about who is operating by the soundtrack.

Neurosurgeons like classical. Orthopods like rock. And then, there are those that play country.

I can remember bringing a boom box to the OR, only to have it stolen. Then we went to CDs stacked like suture materials somewhere. Now we get Pandora and iPhones, which if some had their way, would be banned as well.

Maybe the answer is Mandatory Mozart,

since research indicates it:

  • Improves test scores
  • Cuts learning time
  • Calms hyperactive children and adults
  • Reduces errors
  • Improves creativity and clarity
  • Heals the body faster
  • Integrates both sides of the brain for more efficient learning
  • Raises IQ scores 9 points (research done at University of California, Irvine)

Soon the CMS will issue regulations reducing Medicare payments by 1% to any hospital that plays music in the OR since, I'm sure, someone will link it to another hospital acquired condition. Maybe headsets are the answer. Now there is a business opportunity.

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