Essential Assets in Emergency Departments and Operating Rooms in Hospitals

There are essential assets in every hospital emergency department and operating room that help save lives.

Hopefully, you never see the inside of an emergency room at the hospital, but if you or a family member needs to be in the emergency room, it’s comforting to know that smart, skilled, capable people are there to help patients, treat patients, stabilize patients, and get them to an operating room, Intensive Care Unit or hospital room for subsequent treatment and recovery. There are essential assets and disposables in every hospital emergency department that doctors and nurses use to save lives, ranging from low-tech blankets, hospital masks and scissors to patient monitors, high-tech ultrasound, defibrillators, IV infusion equipment, and anesthesia machines. No matter the level of sophistication, all those assets are there to patch you up and get you home again.

Anesthesia Machines

Anesthesia machines in operating rooms are what doctors use to put a patient in a temporary state of loss of sensation or awareness so they can perform a surgical procedure. Anesthetic machines are used to sedate a patient and keep them ‘asleep’ so they don’t awaken during surgery. A steady supply of anesthetic agents are most commonly administered by gasses delivered via tanks, endotracheal tubes, and face masks; intravenous routes; intramuscular route; and subcutaneous routes. The anesthesiologist uses the various components on the machine to make sure the patient is getting enough, but not too many anesthetic agents. Electronic flow meters maintain the flow of gas at a set point and eliminate any fluctuations that might interrupt the procedure. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has established minimum monitoring guidelines for patients receiving general anesthesia, regional anesthesia, or sedation.

Patient Monitors

The patient monitor is the bedside machine that monitors the patient’s vital signs. It’s the machine that keeps the heartbeat and pulse. The patient monitor lets the nurses and doctors keep an eye on a patient without having to disturb them, and also allow monitoring from a central nursing station. Patient monitors track the patient’s blood pressure, blood-oxygen saturation, pulse, heart rhythm, respiratory rate, and body temperature. Other physiological monitoring options are also available.

Unfortunately, agitated patients frequently remove sensors and cause alarms to go off, and inhibit data readings and data collection. Nurses sometimes have to repeatedly return to the patient until they are able to secure the sensors.


The defibrillator is the dramatic device that doctors use to bring someone back to life. The defibrillator is the electric shock machine that formerly used two paddles that were applied to the chest. Currently, defibrillation is usually administered via two adhesive pads that are applied to the upper right chest and the lower left chest. The adhesive pads can also monitor the heart rhythm. Defibrillators are used to counter ventricular fibrillation (V-fib) and ventricular tachycardia (V-tach). The defibrillator jump-starts the heart with the intent to counter these two dangerous non-functional electromechanical conditions of the heart to get the heart back to a normal sinus rhythm or at least a function heart rhythm. Defibrillators are located on any of a number of crash carts that are located in emergency rooms, operating rooms, and hospital floors. Crash carts are also supplied with emergency cardiac drugs, intubation equipment, intubation drugs, and emergency peripheral and central and venous access assets. The defibrillator one of the last tools that medical professionals can deploy along with CPR, and emergency drugs to save a life.

Ultrasound, X-Ray, CT, MRI Machines

An ultrasound machine is an invaluable piece of diagnostic equipment that boasts many benefits, using sound wave above the frequency of sound that can be heard by the human ear. Ultrasound devices operate with frequencies from 20 kHz up to several gigahertz. The normal human hearing range is typically 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

The ultrasound machine allows doctors and nurses to internally visualize a patient without having to cut them open. It’s like having a portable x-ray machine right there. Of course, the Radiology Department with X-ray, CT, MRI machines are adjacent to most Emergency Departments. Doctors can look for broken bones, internal bleeding, lesions, and any other internal injuries. Advances in the technology allow doctors to capture and catalog hundreds of images in seconds. The images are available days, weeks, and years later at doctors offices as well as the hospital.

Surgical Lights

A surgeon needs to see what they are doing and that means lots of lights. The overhead surgical lights in the emergency room or operating room are massive floodlights that soak the room in light. There is no room for error in surgery, and doctors have immense pressure on them to get it right. Shadows and poor visualization is prevented by adequate lighting (Shadow Dilution) in the emergency room and operating room. Light specifications include Lux, Central Illuminance, Light Field Center, Depth of Illumination, Shadow Dilution, Light Field Diameter, and D50 (the diameter where the light field diameter illumination falls to 50 percent).



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