Just be care­ful with that scalpel

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

“Earth­quake Surgery” would be a good ti­tle for Out­liers’ next (and first) rock al­bum, and—while per­form­ing surg­eries dur­ing earth-shak­ing tremors is not ad­vised—be­ing able to com­plete post-quake surgery now ap­pears to be pos­si­ble.

The Cal­i­for­nia Seis­mic Safety Com­mis­sion and the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia San Diego built an 80-foot-high, five-story build­ing—com­plete with surgery suite, in­ten­sive-care unit and work­ing el­e­va­tor—on a “shake ta­ble” de­signed to sim­u­late mo­tions from some of the most se­vere earth­quakes recorded. The build­ing was out­fit­ted with 500 sen­sors and 80 cam­eras pro­vid­ing 500 to 600 “chan­nels of data,” and on April 17, they sim­u­lated an earth­quake sim­i­lar to one that oc­curred in the Los An­ge­les area in 1994 (6.7 on the Richter scale) and a stronger one (8.8) that took place in Chile in 2010.

Thanks to base iso­la­tors—ba­si­cally gi­ant rub­ber shock ab­sorbers— there was only mi­nor su­per­fi­cial dam­age to the build­ing, no struc­tural dam­age and of­fi­cials de­clared that the ICU and OR were able to func­tion af­ter the sim­u­lated quake. Up­com­ing tests in­clude tak­ing out the base iso­la­tors and per­form­ing the sim­u­lated quakes again as well as set­ting the build­ing on fire. Some peo­ple have a lot of fun at work. The down­sides to the $5 mil­lion ex­per­i­ment in­clude the rev­e­la­tion that only about 30 build­ings in Cal­i­for­nia are equipped with base iso­la­tors and that new re­stric­tions on state tax­ing pow­ers may be putting the com­mis­sion’s $1.3 mil­lion bud­get in jeop­ardy.

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