At Perpetuo Socorro hospital in Gran Canaria (Canary Islands), a 60 year old patient underwent an arthroscopy surgery at the knee while being immersed in virtual reality and listening to Claire de Lune. Mrs Ramírez was terrified by the procedure and has requested general anaesthetic. Instead she was offered to wear an Oculus Rift head mounted VR display. The operation was performed using only local anaesthetic while she experienced the night sky, listening to various relaxing classical pieces. While nervous at first, she quickly relaxed and the procedure went without any problems.
The hospital CEO, Jorge Petit declared: “This trial brings a great clinical advantage to isolate the patient in an operating room and thus protect them from a stressful environment.” Generally VR sets like Oculus Rift are used in cases of burn victims by showing icy landscapes to suggest cold. It is good to know that hypnosys has also been used successfully in suggesting pain away. This proves that the human mind is truly powerful but it just needs a nudge in the right direction to perform things outside of its general accepted paradigm.
The main surgeon also wore a Google Glass set during the procedure and live streamed it to an amphitheatre full of students. This is not the only use for Glass that the hospital has employed. Earlier this year they have introduced a QR code system for identifying patients. The doctor scanning the code would bring up the patient’s file just by looking at his or her wristband.
The software for both Google Glass and Oculus Rift was created by a Spanish company called Droiders which specializes in clinical software. It’s director, Paul Gailey Alburquerque states that “Google Glass allows people to watch surgeries being performed in another part of the world in real time, this improves the learning process and allows doctors to more effectively share information. Moreover, surgeons might be able to use the technology for a second opinion or to clear up any doubts during the procedure.”