Melissa Houghton

This sound was captured from the elevator in the lobby of Duke Children’s Hospital. The clip includes the sounds of elevator buttons being pressed, the bell when the elevator arrives, the doors opening and closing, and the whirring of the cables as the elevator accelerates upwards. Patients and caregivers use this elevator every day. While the elevator ride is likely not a memorable part of any hospital visit, it is a simple common experience shared by many who pass through the hospital lobby. Recorded using a zoom recorder.

Philip Khoury

This sound includes a bovie (electrocautery) as it cuts away muscle and suction keeping the surgical field clear on a surgical excision of a sarcoma tumor.  This case was performed on a fifteen year old's medial thigh as the tumor was growing out of her vastus medialis muscle.  Surgical excisions of sarcomas require a great deal of care to avoid entering the pseudo-capsule and have clear margins after a wide excision is done.  It requires a lot of trauma to be dealt to muscles, nerves, and vessels as the tumor is freed from the surrounding tissue which can be hard in the recording.  The instruments used are critical to this operation being a success.  

Victoria Wang
Sujata Kishnani

A custodian fiddles with his keys as he waits for the elevator to arrive. We stand in a crowded waiting area for an elevator; there are many elevators in this area. A pre-recorded male voice announces: “Floor 1, going up.” The custodian plays music aloud from his phone as he enters the elevator. This recording portrays the everyday lives of those who may not be receiving nor directly giving care, but who facilitate the overall flow and cleanliness of a hospital. A woman in the elevator exclaims, “Beautiful!” The woman’s exclamation demonstrates the multiplicity of emotion and experience in the hospital. This interaction signifies the diversity of interactions that one may experience in a hospital setting.

Victoria Wang
Sujata Kishnani

The main entry to Duke Hospital requires passage through a revolving door. The door occasionally creaks. Several people may pass through the door at a time, as they did at the time of the recording. This revolving door represents the permeable barrier and transition between the outside world and the place of giving and receiving care.


The creator of the sound presses the metal button on a pedestrian crosswalk warning light and it audibly beeps. This assists individuals who are visually-impaired in safely crossing the street; the tone is louder on the other side of the crosswalk so that individuals know which direction to walk toward. Generally, several people stand on all sides of a busy intersection and wait for the pedestrian crosswalk warning light to change (both in tone and color) so that they can cross the street safely. Crosswalks are often located in between hospitals and parking structures, and should thus be considered part of the transition from the outside world to that of receiving care and experiencing illness.

Letelia Smith

A sound recording of information being sent from the emergency room of a hospital to another department within the hospital through an automatic tubing system. The recording was done in the early afternoon on a slightly busy Sunday during a bad flu season. It was a Swiss log pneumatic tubing system.