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Music in the OR: What music does your surgeon listen to?

Dr. Handler

“I really cannot operate without my U2 playing,” said Dr. Sheryl Handler-Matasar.

There are a lot of sounds in hospitals. The beeping of the pulse ox machine. The drone of the ventilator. Warning chimes for IVs that need attention. The endless overhead announcements.

And if you’re near the operating rooms at Akron Children’s Hospital, you might also hear the sounds of U2 or the country strains of Brad Paisley filling the air.

While some of our surgeons prefer to operate in silence, many also believe that music adds a relaxing vibe to what can be a stressful work environment.

Dr. Murthy loves to listen to Pandora on his iPod while he operates.

Dr. Murthy loves to listen to Pandora on his iPod while he operates.

“Listening to music in the OR keeps the stress level low and everyone is in a good mood,” said Dr. Ananth Murthy, director of Pediatric Plastic Surgery.

The types of music our surgeons enjoy are just as varied as the pediatric subspecialties they represent. Dr. Murthy happens to be a big ‘80s fan, regularly listening to the music of Al Green, Bob Marley and Prince.

“I personally love to listen to Pandora radio. I usually start off the day with something fun like Michael Jackson, or Black Eyed Peas,” he said. “Through the middle of the day, I like U2 or Whitney Houston. I almost always end with Billy Ocean.”

Orthopedic surgeon Sheryl Handler-Matasar is also a U2 fan, so much so that she only listens to U2 while she operates.

“I really cannot operate without my U2 playing,” said Handler. “I’ve been a U2 fan (groupie of sorts) since the late 1980s and I play U2 95 percent of the time in the OR. I don’t know what I’d do without my four Irish rock stars. I’d have to quit operating.”

Drs. Mark Adamczyk and Kerwyn Jones, also orthopedic surgeons, favor country music.

“My favorite artist is Brad Paisley,” said Dr. Adamczyk. “I have always studied, read, worked out and worked with music. It relaxes me and provides a nice background.”

Dr. Jones agrees, saying music encourages a positive work environment and helps to decrease unnecessary stress. He cites the Zac Brown Band as his current favorite.

Pediatric neurosurgeon Roger Hudgins also likes the calming effect of music in the OR.

“I focus better with music playing softly in the background,” Dr. Hudgins said. “I like all types of music but mostly jazz, especially Miles Davis.”

Dr. Richard Hertle, director of Akron Children’s Vision Center, wouldn’t peg himself down to one music genre.

“I like many types of music,” Dr. Hertle said. “It contributes to a relaxing environment while remaining professional.”

Not all our surgeons listen to music in the OR. Dr. John Crow, chairman of Pediatric Surgery, said he’s always studied and read in silence, and he likes a quiet operating room as well.

“For me, silence is golden,” said Dr. Crow.