Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Worst Songs To Play In The Operating Room

Anesthesiologists are often the DJ's in the OR. Since the surgeon is scrubbed in and the circulating nurse is busy running around getting equipment or entering information at her nursing workstation, we are frequently the only one free to put on some tunes. Plus anesthesiologists have the most awesome taste in music.

As the official OR disk jockey, we're responsible for the music that a patient hears when he is wheeled into the operating room. Usually I try to keep it upbeat. However sometimes I can't be responsible for what comes out of the speakers when Pandora is playing my 80's playlist. Or what happens when the shuffle function on my iPhone spits out an unfortunate song choice.

So here is my list of songs that should be avoided when a patient comes into the OR. Granted any loud rap music should probably be banned forever from the room, unless you happen to have some hip hop gangsta as your patient. But the song selections here are particularly lamentable when a patient presents for surgery. They will quickly have you searching for the fast forward button.

Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw
Excellent country song. Not something you want to remind a patient when he is about to undergo a Whipple operation. No need to tell the patient he should have lived life at its fullest before succumbing to terminal cancer.

Another One Bites The Dust by Queen
An awesome sports anthem. Great for taunting an opposing team. Not so hot when the patient is about to get put under by you. Can you push the propofol any faster so the patient won't realize the familiar thumping beats herald the start of this song about failure?

Anything by Michael Jackson
Thanks to a certain convicted felon by the name of Dr.(?) Conrad Murray, propofol is now a household word. Rightly or wrongly, patients automatically have a wariness when told they will be receiving the drug as part of their anesthesia. They're association of propofol with celebrity addiction and death instead of the miracle of modern anesthesia is unfortunate but at least that's one less thing I have to explain when I give them my spiel about potential risks and complications of getting an anesthetic.

So that is my list of songs that should never be played when a patient enters the operating room. You may not be able to avoid it when one of the songs suddenly pops up on your random play list but try to discreetly skip to the next song before the patient breaks into tears.


  1. Staying Alive


  2. Totally agree with OmniAtlas!!! Was going to make the same suggestion.

  3. Try Requiem by Mozart in OR:) one of the surgions w who i did my student rotation always played it while operating...

  4. Knocking on Heaven's Door

  5. Highway to Hell
    Stairway to Heaven
    Knockin' on Heaven's Door