A classic Amsco O.R. Table. Turn one big wheel for elevation, the other for tilting
the head up or down. Grab the gear shift handles to activate breaks. Shift into first
gear and use the stirrups for gyne and urology procedures.
One of the design flaws was locating the position of the exposed screws with their inclined plane below the table. Accessing the controls of a draped table required a trip down under for the circulating nurse. Circulating nurse was one of those new fangled terms and fools older than me called them "hustle nurses." I was a frequent volunteer for this duty because I relished the serene environment under a draped OR table while all that noise and fuss emanated from above.
During my under table sojourns it was all too easy to allow for some foolish daydreaming. Those big shining control wheels looked like they belonged on a yacht and sometimes I imagined myself at the helm of a pleasure vessel on peaceful Lake Michigan or driving a race car in the Indy 500. A break from all the drama above always refreshed.
The exposed screws were also in a vulnerable spot when it came to collecting fluids from above. Blood would clot and dry on the surface of the adjustment screw so that subsequent rotations would produce a colorful rooster tail of flying red flecks that reminded me of those spinning fireworks shooting sparks. The mini pieces of dried blood flying about would also refract the light from the big overheads creating a miniature light show that was a sight to behold
Surgeons had no direct control of patient positioning and were at the mercy of nursing and anesthesia to adjust the table. Positioning attempts were initiated immediately after the one...two...three... count transferring the patient from a cart. Kindly surgeons like Dr. Slambow would always help lifting and transferring patients from the cart to table. Non verbal, cold as ice stares awaited less helpful surgeons who soon learned the up side of team work.
There were no specialty OR tables back in the days of one size fits all surgical platforms. Sand bags, rolled towels, airplane belt restraints padded with egg crate, and whatever else we could scrounge together made up our somewhat barbaric positioning armamentarium. (I just love that A...… word because it sounds like I might know what I'm talking about!) When we applied a restraint belt to a conscious patient the party line was always, "Since the table is so very narrow we use this for safety." There was no mention of the fact the belt helped keep them on the table if an abrupt anesthesia emergence occurred giving an alternative meaning to ambulatory surgery.