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Behind Closed Doors
Is There a Fruitcake In Your OR?
Paula Watkins
Publish Date: December 14, 2007   |  Tags:   Opinion

Not too many people expect fruitcake at a holiday get-together. That is to say, not too many people firmly believe that the holidays just wouldn't be complete without it. But people actually receive these curiosities as gifts! Personally, I only know two people who like fruitcake. So if you get one this season and you're not one of those two people, you're going to need some ideas on what to do with it.

I figured the OR was a good place to start. Given the low budget we're expected to maintain, OR folks are known for using everything we can get our hands on to deliver the quality patient care that administration has come to expect. Consider the following uses for a fruitcake:

  • Serves as an excellent headrest, either for the patient or for yourself, after you've endured one of those "get me out of here" cases.
  • It might work as a crown for the diva surgeon.
  • Or as seating for patients following hemorrhoid surgery and for surgeons at any time.
  • For positioning patients' extremities. We're always looking for something stout to bolster that 389-pound leg.
  • As a stepstool, so the vertically challenged can see what's going on up at the surgery site.
  • Use it to level the table and the playing field.
  • Chunk it on the floor to soak up the fluids from shoulder scope procedures.
  • Perhaps it can solidify all those "too heavy to put in red bags" suction canisters.
  • Doorstop to prop open doors. Oh, wait, no one in surgery does that any more, right? (Make sure you remove them before the accreditors come.)
  • As a "surgeon persuader" or, if you will, "surgeon enforcer" for when he's been bad.
  • As a needle counter pad for the sterile field.
  • Sturdy enough to be a traction weight.
  • Mix it with thrombin for double the coagulating power.
  • Revolutionary treatment for MRSA and VRSA. I don't think any germ could live or mutate with a little bit of fruitcake on board.
  • A post-op cervical collar. It's cost-effective and close enough to your mouth for a nibble, if you're really starving.
  • Slice into dry erasers for the scheduling board.
  • Spore test for the autoclave.
  • Wedge against casters so the equipment stays in place during surgery.
  • Snacks for the OR staff. Remember, we'll eat just about anything in the break room fridge or on the nursing station counter if it's not sticky-noted and nailed down.
  • Bronzed into a plaque, it could be a coveted award at your facility's holiday party.
  • Or put it into service towards the true nature of the season: decorate it with ribbon, add angels, a star or what have you, and hang it on the OR door. There's a wreath that'll last you year after year. Happy holidays, peace on earth and good will toward others.