Filming Surgery in 1957

January 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

CC-BY National Museum of Health & Medicine. Click for larger version.

The last week I have been in contact with the kind people of the Otis Historical Archives at the National Museum of Health & Medicine regarding a post I’m writing. In the process they dug up this very interesting photo from an OR in 1957.

The caption reads:

The color television camera in Operating Room Number 6 is equipped with a turret of lenses of varying focal length. The camera looks at the surface of a mirror which is suspended at an angle above an aperture within the center of the operating light, which is always focused on the operating field.

Around the operating table are Capt. Crisonia Tirado-Gonzales, Anesthetist; Capt. Alphonse C. Gomez, Surgeon; 1st Lt. Norman D. Sower, Assisting; and Capt. Dorothy Goldsmith, Scrub Nurse. Washington, DC.

11/14/1957. [Surgery. Walter Reed General Hospital (Washington, D.C.). Walter Reed Army Medical Center.]

I’ve never seen this kind of set-up before. Although smaller than the DeBakey stand, the large camera would of course demand a clever solution. A light with a hole in the middle would make things much easier even today, where the cameras located inside surgical light handles still deliver inferior quality video, and placing another camera means competing with the lights for the best placement.

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