The life of a photographer who likes to shoot just about anything.

Posts tagged “Operating Room Surgery

Blood and Guts

For many years, part of my work included being a medical photographer. That meant shooting in the O.R., E.R. or patient rooms. Blood and guts. ¬†And I am a guy who’s very squeamish. I hate the sight of blood. Many years ago I was riding a bike with a friend. He fell down and broke his foot. There was no blood, nothing penetrated the skin, but I couldn’t even look at that. (Coincidentally it was across the street from a hospital which made it very convenient for my friend.) Fast forward many years, and I find myself as a staff photographer in a hospital where my responsibilities included patients in the operating room. I still remember my first “call down” to the O.R. I stood in the corner, camera in hand, starring at the wall. I was very nervous, thinking, “how do I get outta here!” Then those fateful words were spoken, “Rich, take a photo of this please.” I turned, walked slowly to the patient, took a deep breath and did my job. (I don’t remember what the actual surgery was.) As the years passed, I saw many surgeries, patients in rooms, accidents in the E.R. – open heart, other surgeries in the chest, legs, hands, brain, people who were injured from explosions, etc. I adapted to my situation and learned the difference between “controlled blood” and “uncontrolled” (my personal definitions). “Uncontrolled” would be a war zone or some type of violence or accident. I was never in a war but I had photographed two patients who were the victims of an explosion. One was deliberate – a bomb – and the other was an oxygen tank that exploded. I had “weak knees” with those patients. Another serious accident involved the male genitals. Being a guy and how I might respond to this situation, I had a smart solution – I put the camera to my eye BEFORE I looked at the injury. This took me out of the situation and I got the job done.

With “controlled blood”, I am referring to procedures in the operating room where the bodies are covered up except for the surgical area. This made the situation abstract for me, making it easier to see the blood.

Sometimes the unexpected happens. While I’ve never had open heart surgery, seeing it has actually improved my diet. I DON”T EVER want to have that done to me. Take my word for it.

Well, I rarely photograph in the O.R. anymore, the last time I did, the surgeon in charge, a friend of mine, commented, “Rich, you look like you’re having a good time.” I actually was.


Hard at Work

Hard at work, watching the doctors do their jobs.