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Plymouth Hospitals Trust

Knee surgery patient given iPad instead of sedative

A 65-year-old woman has become the first patient at Plymouth Hospitals Trust to use an iPad as a distraction technique during surgery.

Janet Blank had a total knee replacement under spinal anaesthesia but, rather than being fully sedated, she chose to listen to the radio on an iPad that was loaned to her by the South West Regional Anaesthesia Group.

Sedation is offered to patients to avoid them hearing or seeing anything unwanted during their procedure. The idea is that listening to music or watching videos on an ipad could act as an alternative to sedation, by distracting patients and disguising any unwanted noises.

Consultant anaesthetist Dr Matt Oldman said: “By avoiding sedating anaesthetic drugs during the procedure we can reduce side effects such as sickness, post-op drowsiness and confusion.

“Staying awake may also be a safer option for patients with certain medical conditions. Another added advantage is that the surgeon can communicate with the patient during the procedure.”

Ms Blank said: “I heard everything, the hammer and drill but it didn’t bother me at all.

“I went to the recovery room after the operation and then straight up to the ward, I’d advise it to anyone.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Sounds like a good idea.

    Unless the patient decides they don't want to leave the theatre at the end of the case because they are listening to Beethoven's 9th or playing Angry Birds... :-)

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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