Thursday, March 18, 2010

Standing Stools in the OR

When I was in medical school (1978-1982) and the first few years of residency, it was common to find coke cases used in the operating room. Being only 5 ft 3 in tall, I almost always needed at least one, and often two of these cases to stand on.

Checking online, the most common measurements for wooden coke cases were: 18" X 12" X 4-5" This made for a safe standing area. They were sturdy, even when stacked. These cases were used commonly in the 70’ when sodas were bottled in glass not cans.

When I became the “surgeon,” I got to chose the OR table height. No longer do I need to stand on a step stool. When I am working with someone much taller than I am, I will raise the table to a comfortable height for them and stand on a step stool. Doesn’t happen often these days.

This is what you will find used as a surgical step stool now (photo credit). They are washable. The standing area measures 16-1/2"L x 12-1/2"W. They are 5” tall.

3 comments:

Jabulani said...

I bought a step stool for my kids when they were much younger so they could reach the basin to wash their hands. They haven't needed it for many years now, but they are using a small set of steps to climb up to the top of the cupboards to get down fixings for toast (peanut butter and nutella!!) I am reasonably confident that within a much smaller time frame than I would really want, they will do away with the steps too ...

I love that you are so thoughtful of taller people in your OR. I wonder how many other surgeons would afford the same courtesy to their staff.

DBenzil said...

Even at 5"8" I found that the height of most of the neurosurgeons I trained with required I sped many hours on step stools. If really does impact o comfort and post-surgical neck/back pain. A close friend of mine is an enormously successful neurosurgeon who is also disabled. A kind attending in her training program (more than 25 years ago) arrived in the OR one day with a remarkable devise that allowed her to raise and lower to heights on a comfortable, wide standing surface. She has often said it transformed her residency experience.

DHS said...

Our steps look like they've been made by biomedical engineering. They're basically a big piece of checkerplate steel with 4-5" legs welded onto the corners. Very stable and usable. Even at 5'9 I occasionally use one when my attending is much taller or when I 2nd assist and have to try to see over someone's shoulder.