Critical Reading and Writing
May 3, 2012
The Cutting Edge
Surgery has been a method used to help fix people’s problems for generations. Whether it is a broken bone, dislocation, cancer, or ruptured appendix, surgery has provided the option of fixing these problems for the afflicted patients. The history of surgery is vast, and over the ages it has developed into a much more refined practice. According to Tim Lambert in A History of Surgery, it started in the Stone Age, with incisions and holes in people’s skulls for unknown reason. Egyptians then furthered the realm of surgery by removing the organs of mummies to prevent rotting (Lambert). A big problem during this time was cleanliness; it was difficult to prevent infections in addition to controlling bleeding problems and pain. As generations passed, surgeons became more skilled in operating procedures, using alcohol and honey to prevent infections. In addition, surgeons gained more knowledge about the human body through dissections that became allowed by the church around the mid-14th century (Lambert). The revolution of anesthetics wasn’t introduced until the 19th century; however it became a critical advancement in the field by allowing patients to receive pain relief by inhaling ether. This became especially important at this time, because new procedures such as the tracheotomy became a less intense procedure with the use of anesthetics. Options other than ether soon became available, such as chloroform, cocaine, and Novocain (Lambert). The surgical revolution didn’t end here, many technologies allowed for surgery to become a much more technical process. The 20th century led to the first eye surgery due to the invention of the laser, as well as improvements in heart surgery that led to the pacemaker, heart transplants, and artificial hearts (Lambert). In spite of all the groundbreaking steps that were made in this field, new steps are still being taken today. There is a new outlook that could prove to advance the field of surgery even further, and it is known as robotic surgery. Due to improvements in technology and programming, robotic surgery is now a better option than conventional surgery. Robotic Nurses
Robotics can be used to aid in surgery in many different ways. Two main ways are using a robotic surgeon and using a robotic nurse. People may not realize that nurses can in fact have a negative impact in surgery. Research published by George Akingba shows that 31% of all communications in the Operating Room result in some sort of failure, and a third of those failed communications impact the patient (Akingba). Some of these errors are caused by team instability, which includes a lack of familiarity between nurses and surgeons, minimal staffing, and other random distractions. The use of a robotic nurse can possibly reduce the number of failed communications between surgeons and nurses (Akingba). In order for robotics to be a successful replacement, these robots must achieve a certain level of accuracy and speed. In order to determine how well a robot could achieve this, George Akingba and his team performed and recorded multiple experiments using a robotic nurse called Gestonurse. Their goal was to show that a robotic nurse could be used in an actual surgery (Akingba). In order to serve as a viable replacement, Gestonurse needed to be able to understand both verbal and non-verbal cues given by the surgeon, predict the instruments that the surgeon will require next, and doctors need knowledge of the boundaries and limitations of this fairly recent technology (Akingba). In order for Gestonurse to replace a nurse in an operating room it has to be able to replicate the same steps a regular nurse could perform. That means the robot must identify the hand gesture it is being given, match that gesture with a tool, find the tool, and transport it from the table to the surgeon. This is a difficult process...
Cited: Akingba, George. "Gestonurse: a robotic surgical nurse for handling surgical instruments in the operating room." Journal of Robotic Surgery 6 (2012): 11. Academic Onefile. Web. 4 Mar. 2012.
"da Vinci Surgery - Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System." da Vinci Surgery - Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2012. .
Lambert, Tim. "A History of Surgery." A World History Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. .
Lanfranco, Anthony. "Robotic Surgery." National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 4Mar. 2012. .
"Robotic Surgery Technology Gives Doctors 'Sense Of Touch '." Science Daily: News & Articles in Science, Health, Environment & Technology. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. .
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