We’ve all seen the TV shows and heard the stories about how music in the operating room makes for better and safer operations. Surgeons, we are told, are more focused on the tasks at hand when their favourite music is playing in the background.
Or are they? A new survey (which involved videoing 20 operations over six months at a British hospital) says that a surgeon is five times more likely to repeat a request when music is playing. This interferes with communication within the team and thus creates a potential safety hazard. I mean, if you don’t hear that command to do something, there could be a problem, right? This study found 5,000 instances in which a request had to be repeated. Now consider that about 50% of all surgeries worldwide are conducted with music in the background. You’re welcome.