I performed my fist knee operation today. Not in real life though but on my pc. Videogames inspired by medical practises or diseases has been discussed on this blog before but I don’t think that this particular game has been mentioned. In the game one takes on the role of a surgeon (or a surgeon’s assistant, I’m a bit in the dark on that one) and I must admit that I found the game to be surprisingly unpleasant.
I guess that working at a place like Medical Museion one gets hardened by telling stories of how the medieval surgeons performed their work or how the cholera epidemic infected people in the middle of the 19th century. Nevertheless this game, where one gets to perform surgery on a knee, really struck me. One thing is the images of the opened knee but I believe that it’s really the sound on the game that gets to me. Especially the sound of the saw going through the knee is really disturbing. Urg!
I must admit that I found it rather educational and apparently my patient survived. To be quite honest I’m not sure that it’s possible to actually ever fail. The game also reminded me of an article I read recently (“Inscribing surgery in digital culture” by Jan Eric Olsén, Årsskrift for Medicinsk Museion, vol. 3, 2006: 49), in which he links computer gaming and virtual surgery:
Future surgery may not require knowledge in handling the scalpel but rather familiarity with computers. It has also been suggested that surgeons who often play computer games sharpen their ability to coordinate the senses of vision and touch, when performing keyhole surgery (Satava ed 1998: 143-144)
That might be right, but I’m quite sure that the above-mentioned game does not train the necessary skills 🙂 (For an online article about the link between surgery and computer gaming click here)