Anesthesiologists Take Pride in Music Anesthesiologists Take Pride in Music: “Anesthesiologists Take Pride in Music

AP Medical Writer

October 2, 2005, 4:03 PM EDT

CHICAGO — General anesthesia or local? Hip-hop or Sinatra? These are among the decisions facing Dr. Frank Gentile in his double-duty job as anesthesiologist and self-styled DJ of the OR. He doesn’t use a microphone or speak in a fake baritone. But the eclectic range of CDs he loads onto the anesthesia cart headed for the operating room would impress any bona fide disc jockey. Gentile’s collection is between 50 and 100 CDs, and his iPod holds about 5,000 songs.

‘I choose my music strategically. I know my surgeons’ tastes,’ says Gentile, the anesthesiology chairman at Edward Hospital in Naperville. There’s Eminem and 50 Cent for one surgeon who likes rap — the songs are ‘cleaned-up’ to avoid offending anyone. For another doctor it’s Metallica. Others prefer oldies or opera. Gentile picks different types of music for different stages of surgery. Many surgeons prefer up-tempo beats for the final stage and one doctor Gentile works with ‘always closes to J-Lo.’ Many U.S. operating rooms have sound systems, so playing music during surgery has become commonplace. Some doctors say it relieves the tension; studies have shown it can also benefit patients, even reducing the need for anesthesia somewhat during surgery. ”

Finally, they must believe me!

Everyone seems skeptical when I tell them about surgeons and music at UC Davis. The first time I was wheeled, conscious, into the OR I spotted a desktop stereo system perched high atop some shelves, against the pale green tile. I asked, “do you guys use that during surgery?” The answer was in the affirmative and I learned later that the trauma team under F. William Blaisdell listened to classical music, while other trauma teams preferred classic rock. Thank God I wasn’t being grafted to Free Bird! Having your skin “harvested” with the dermatome is torture enough without being subjected to classic anthems such as Black Dog or Highway To Heck!

I was also informed that the plastic surgeons listened to rap and hip-hop, but I was skeptical… until my friend with necrotizing fasciitis confirmed this fact to me months later. Some of the younger doctors were prepping him for the “peel and stick” operation and the collapsible gurney did just that as they were preparing to move him to the operating table. While this was going on, some gangsta rap was blaring at about 113db. He told me that he was cursing a blue streak when the plastics surgeon ran in and turned off the music. “I want a real surgeon,” he shouted. “These guys aren’t even old enough to buy beer!”


  1. Camille said:

    HELLO! I’m looking for some fun blogs about your visit to North Carolina and pictures of my Sis!

    October 7, 2005
  2. Bo Salisbury said:

    Hi MM… necrotizing fasciitis is the dreaded flesh-eating bacteria. I was blasted by it in 1998 and the guy in the story came in towards the end of my three months at UC Davis Med Center. When he arrived, they told me he was the “mirror image” of me. His right leg looked like my left leg.

    The disease has a very high mortality rate, because it mimics other less virulent ailments and is usually mis-diagnosed.

    October 10, 2005

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