Germproof Operating Room (May, 1938)

Germproof Operating Room

ASSEMBLY-LINE METHODS APPLIED TO SURGERY HELP TO GUARD PATIENTS AGAINST INFECTION

BY ADAPTING the assembly-line methods of a factory, an ultramodern “operating block” designed by a leading French professor of medicine will provide hospital patients with surgical treatment in surroundings as nearly germ-free as human ingenuity can devise. An overhead tramway built into the new structural unit conveys the patient through a series of interconnecting rooms where he successively undergoes initial preparations, receives the anesthetic, and finally arrives at the operating table. From the moment he enters the first of the outer chambers, which resemble the air locks of a gas-raid shelter, he is exposed only to sterilized and conditioned air admitted through special ducts. Air pressure throughout the operating block is maintained slightly above the normal atmospheric pressure, so that no contaminating air from the exterior can leak in. From a gallery surrounding the circular operating room, medical students may watch the surgeon at work through a glass dome. Even the operating-room lamps are placed outside the dome. The first of the new operating blocks has been placed on exhibition in Paris, and will later be installed in the medical center at the city of Lille, France.

1. Patient arrives in receiving room, which is not sterilized.

2. Transferred to overhead tramway, patient is prepared for operation in first sterilized chamber.

3. Still on tramway, patient receives anesthetic in second sterilized chamber.

4. Arriving in operating room, patient is lowered from tramway to operating table, and operation is performed in absolutely sterile surroundings.

5. Medical students watch operation through glass dome that excludes them from contact with air in operating room.

6. Conditioning and sterilizing apparatus supplies germfree air to operating room and outer chambers, maintaining slightly more than atmospheric pressure to keep outside air from leaking in.

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