Puncture This: A Fascinating TED Talk

885c7429ef539771f949b2c700bf5bec320570d9_2400x1800I subscribe to the TED Talk RSS feed, which somehow has daily updates (are there really that many TED talks?!) While I love the talks, I rarely take the time to watch them unless the topic seems interesting to me based on the title.

So when I saw the topic of today’s TED Talk, it made me curious: “A Tool to Fix One of the Most Dangerous Moments in Surgery.”

What could that moment possibly be? The moment when anesthesia sets in? The moment when infection is most likely to settle in? The moment when the doctor eats a Junior Mint?

Turns out the moment is when the first puncture takes place. Usually the puncture involves breaking the skin to get through to vital organs in laparoscopic surgery, but there are other surgeries (including brain surgery) where a puncture is needed as well.

I won’t spoil it for you, but the speaker, Nikolai Begg, uses two of the best analogies I’ve ever seen in a talk to convey to non-doctors the physics of puncture. It’s absolutely brilliant. If you want to skip to the first one, it’s at the 2:00 minute mark of the 10-minute talk.

It’s a great talk, and I highly recommend watching it. It was also inspiring in a big way to me. Apparently this puncture problem has been around since the first laparoscopic surgery in 1912. That’s a reminder to me that despite huge technological advances in every area of our lives, there are still things that can be improved, and all it takes is for someone to notice and then take the time to find a solution.

Begg noticed the problem while observing surgeries in college. He observed that despite the casual chit-chat that happens during a surgery, there is always a tense, silent moment when the puncture happens. He took that observation, researched the dangers behind that moment of puncture, and created a solution that might someday make all of our lives better. That’s pretty cool.

This serves as a wake-up call for me to pay more attention to the moments of tension in my life. Maybe that tension is felt by others too, and maybe there’s a way to improve the systems in place that uphold that tension. It’s certainly worth keeping an eye on. Can you think about anything like that in your life?

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