We're a little crazy, about science!

The fifth OR experiment

Well we did it. I finally have the first (mostly) complete dataset from a patient. Overall I think it went well and we got good data. Mistakes were made! But thankfully none of them derailed the project and overall I am happy with the outcome. Let’s get into what went wrong and what went right, because having some post surgical notes will help me next time we do our thing.

It’s that time of the year! The time when people are having all sorts of surgeries because insurance resets after the new year so there’s literally a busy season for surgical cases (who knew?!). The timing works out great for us because we have experiments we’re trying to do and it seems like everyone we tell about this project wants to have some data collected for their side project. In total we are up to more than six different experiments rolled into this rather large and complex package.

It’s not too bad though, most of the stuff is redundant, I’m looking at one portion of the data for something, another person wants to use the same portion to find something else. Teamwork is great like that. So we have a lot of people who are looking forward to seeing this data. Most of the experiments are for our lab though so it’s been a bit frustrating that the stuff we’re doing for us just doesn’t seem to work out.

We’ve had five attempts at collecting a dataset, that could have been five full datasets and in our field 8-10 or so is the ideal situation, so we would be well on our way to having the project done. However, since the experiment is really an interlocking set of experiments we have yet to complete the full thing. We’ve managed to get some for different portions of what we want to do, but we’ve yet to have one full dataset from a patient.

The good news is we have no shortage of volunteers. It makes me very happy to see so many people wanting to help. I’ve even had a person I was consenting ask if we could follow up with them to give updates and to see if the data we collected from them was helpful. I love being a researcher.

So after four failed attempts (or at least partial failures) we’ve been dying to get a full dataset and yesterday was finally the day! I managed to get not only the full dataset, but we found some of the things we were looking for from the data we collected that the clinical side verified for us (since they have fancy software that can do it semi-realtime).

All in all yesterday was a good day. We had a sensor fall off, but that couldn’t be helped. Surgeon-PI, who was the one doing the surgery, had to slow me down a bit, which was helpful too. Hospital-PI couldn’t be there for this attempt so I was going solo and it was a lot of work. I didn’t have anyone with me who knew what to do, so I had to do both the stuff hospital-PI would do, plus the stuff I normally had to do.

We were stuck working in a smaller space (or at least it felt small), but that may have worked in our favor since the cables we run aren’t very long to start with. There were a few things I would’ve done differently, but since we got the data we really wanted I think I will just chalk this up as a success and make a few mental notes for the next time around. Which will be in about a week if I recall the schedule correctly.

Lots to do!


6 responses

  1. I’m getting curious about how the multi-part OR experiments go. Are you mainly setting up monitoring and moving sensors or changing the mode for the different experiments you want to do? Are you coming in and probing or stimulating things manually between steps of the surgery? (If I’m asking for secrets then just tell me to hush.)

    Anyway, congratulations on finally getting the full dataset!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 14, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    • Well some of it is hush, hush. But I think I can comment on the flow of the experiment since that shouldn’t give anything serious away. Mostly we go in, setup our equipment while the patient is being prepped, then do our some of our experiments, next we monitor the surgery (so we have a copy of the data while the procedure is happening), then collect some data post surgery (which amounts to the rest of the experiments. Of course the order of operations keeps changing, which doesn’t help on our end, but that’s basically how things go. Most of the sensors are placed at the start and taken away at the end. Some of them are wireless, but most are wired so we have had extensive issues with OR staff tripping over the cables and basically ruining our data collecting abilities from then on. If that’s vague I apologize, but I think that’s about all I can give away at this point.

      Since meeting with hospital-PI I’ve been very happy about how this dataset went. We got a lot of good stuff and we’re going back in next week (I think…) so that will be fun!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 15, 2021 at 12:25 pm

      • Thanks for the answers! I imagine an OR as a sophisticated place, so the thought of people tripping over wires in there is funny. Though I’m sure it’s a headache.

        Liked by 1 person

        December 15, 2021 at 1:10 pm

      • It is pretty sophisticated! But yes it is a headache tripping over the wires. That may be part of the problem with us being in the OR honestly! I really felt like I annoyed one of the surgeons from the last attempt with all my setting up… oops!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 16, 2021 at 6:30 pm

  2. Right on!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 14, 2021 at 3:35 pm

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