The Shutter Bug-out: A True Tale of Fright Flight by Thomas Muziani PA-C CP
During the late 1970’s I had the privilege of working with a brilliant surgeon that gained worldwide recognition as a vascular surgeon. He made the decision to become a cardiac surgeon and went back to the University of Minnesota to train. After returning he set out to make a name for himself in this wonderful field. Since he was continuously in the habit of writing papers on the different procedures he would perform, it was not uncommon to have a photographer present in the operating room. This was a person hired by the photography department of the hospital. I do not believe they ever hired a “professional”. They just acted that way saying things like; “I would use F-stop 48 for that shot”. Shortly followed by the photographer saying; “Act as if you’re pensive.” (Pensive: engaged in, involving, or reflecting deep or serious thought……like a surgeon performing heart surgery would be daydreaming!)
When he would reach a certain point in the procedure, the surgeon would inform the young person with the camera to stand on the other side of the “ether screen” with anesthesiologist or just behind him.
This one day the photographer shows up with this ridiculously large telephoto lens on his camera, the type where you would slide it back and forth to focus the lens. When he was called up for the other side of the ether screen, he stood on two step lifts for elevation and started to focus by sliding the outer skin of the camera lens back and forth.
Instantly, the lens comes loose from the camera and falls into the cardiac cavity. Simultaneously, he falls backward off the lifts and into the anesthesia machine with a look as if he was witnessing his mother being decapitated. The very next movement he made was to run out of the operating room. The last we heard was that he left the hospital in his scrubs…did not change back into his street clothes…jumped into his car- finally called the hospital several miles down the road to inform them he quit.
What the photographer did not observe was, the surgeon had been watching the photographer while he (the surgeon) was directing and pointing to where he wanted the photographer to take photos. The surgeon had a complete visual of the camera and realized the lens was coming loose and instinctively caught it in mid-air. If I remember correctly, the doctor took the camera and lens home. The department of photography was too mortified to ever ask what happened to the camera.