We're a little crazy, about science!

Back in the OR

Oh man, I haven’t been in the OR since last year! Okay we’re only a few days into the new year, but it does feel like it’s been a bit with the holidays. That’s going to change though because tomorrow is our first OR experiment of the year. And with the new year, we have some new changes to the experiment that we’ll be trying since we’ve had over a half dozen attempts to do this right with somewhat mixed success.

For those just joining in on the OR adventures, the experiment was originally born from a semi-related project I was working on. Almost all of my research is applicable to my PhD and this is no exception, but the work has somehow spiraled a bit from where we originally started. In short, the experiments didn’t go the way we planned so we wanted to try something else.

That led us to the OR, which was something between a complete failure to a hot disaster the first time we went in (more here). Fun fact, we’re still dealing with the fallout from that months later. Anyway, once others got wind of our work and once hospital-PI had more time to think about it, we started changing the experiment around. What became one very simple, very concise project has morphed into a Frankenstein’s monster of a project with several complex and interlocking pieces. Everyone wants something a little different so we’re doing experiments at different points during surgery looking at different things.

Mostly we’re just letting the surgeon do his thing and we’re scrounging the data that he wouldn’t normally care about, but there are other additions that we’re adding. Time is always a factor so setup and actual experiment time needs to be minimized. The clinical staff has better things to do than have surgical times extended anytime we’re in the OR. So there’s a pressure to get in, get done, and stay out of people’s way. Most of the time that works out okay, sometimes though, not so much.

As for the data we collect, so far we’ve had mixed results. Some of it is good, some of it is okay, and some of it is lukewarm garbage. That means making small, but significant changes on our side. My role in all this is to figure out how to do it better, let hospital-PI know and then implement those changes. I’ve got a few new things that we’re going to do and since I’ve been on a experimental equipment arts and crafts kick lately, I’m making custom making some new equipment to do the stuff we want to do in the OR.

I have quite a bit of budget left over from my “big idea” project, so I’ll be funneling some of those funds into this since the stuff I’ll be making will be applicable for both projects anyway. Since this will take some time (plus time for the stuff to arrive) not a whole lot will change on the equipment side for tomorrow, but I am hoping that by changing the way we’re doing things in the OR we can get some better data.

We’re making progress, it’s just slow and research isn’t comfortable when you got at a slow pace, at least not the stuff we’re doing.


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