Saving Hope

Actor Salvatore Antonio dons his O.R. scrubs and learns how to hand over scalpels...properly

If the acting thing doesn’t work out for “Saving Hope’s” Salvatore Antonio, he can always look for work as a scrub nurse.

“The scrub nurse has a really specific job, not only in charge of the sterility of the room, but also the speed with which things are passed,” explains Antonio. “They have to organize the instruments on the mayo tray – that’s what they call that little tray they have all the knives on – making sure they know where everything is all in the name of efficiency.

“The thing about a scrub nurse is you’ve got to be really present and always be thinking two steps ahead of the surgeon. Oh, and by no means getting in the way!”

Though he’s never actually stepped foot in an actual O.R., he’s done his homework, studying the techniques and skills of the two nurses who are on set (and in the O.R. “Saving Hope” scenes, just outside the camera’s view).

“I’m always asking questions, like how to hand over an instrument the proper way because I know there’s going to be someone at home who does this (for a living) and I don’t want to be that actor who doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Antonio says with a laugh.

So how do you hand over instruments? “You always make sure the handle fits right into the surgeon’s hand, without any fumbling,” Antonio relays, “and that the curve of an instrument is facing the right direction to so the surgeon doesn’t have to look at the instrument but can feel it and boom, cut. It’s this hyper-efficiency that is learned.”

Antonio loves playing Victor, and especially likes how good he is at his job. “He’s been (at Hope Zion) for a while and he’s gotten to learn how different surgeons work. You try to mimic some of the energy of the surgeon while they’re working so things are seamless. I imagine that’s what would happen in real life as well.”

Alex is very gentle in her surgeries, Antonio says. “I have a half second more to get things to her. Joel jokes around and has a certain cavalier attitude. He’ll throw his hand out in a very casual way.”

Reycraft, on the other hand, is very measured and precise. “There’s no fooling around in his O.R.,” Antonio says.

Where most of the actors have their favourite surgery scenes, Antonio says he doesn’t have a single one, even though he’s been in on some of the doozies.

“I’m actually squeamish. Very squeamish. I’m getting better with it, but the first couple surgeries I had to take a break and do some deep breathing. Everyone thought I was joking, but everything looks so real in person that I just had issues with shattered bones and the hand reattachment surgery. They’re a bit too real for my liking,” he laughs.

“I hate blood. I hate the sight of blood. I wish I had the fortitude that Victor has, but I’m a wimp.”