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June 10, 1974

A Dangerous Fad

Author Affiliations

Webster, NY

JAMA. 1974;228(11):1370. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230360018008

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To the Editor.—  I would like to plead for the abandonment of a growing, all too common practice of so-called background music in operating rooms. Any operating room worker who is actually hearing the music is not concentrating on his job.The alert anesthesiologist depends a great deal on his ears to aid him in safe conduct. He cannot give his full attention to such vital sounds such as those arising from cardiac monitors, blood pressure determinations, pulse meters, presences or absences of normal or abnormal respiratory noises, proper cycling of ventilators, gas leaks, and others, and also sing along with Mitch.Operating rooms should be as quiet as possible except for the essential sounds of communication between personnel directly concerned with the patient's care. The patient is deserving of all the staff's continuous complete attention and not just between musical scores. When a surgeon hums or whistles during an