An electrosurgical hemostatic instrument is provided in which the coagulation status of tissue engaged by two elements delivering an electrosurgical energy to tissue may be observed, and in which damage from thermal spread may be minimized. A preferred embodiment of the invention provides a bipolar endoscopic clamping, coagulation and cutting device. In this device, the outer conductive surface of the tissue engaging elements includes openings therethrough. The openings are adapted to allow an observer to see the tissue as it is being treated, coagulation may be observed by watching the region through the openings. In addition, the inclusion of openings in the end effector enhances coagulation from speed by reducing the thermal mass of the end effector without substantially reducing the structural strength of the end effector jaws. Finally, the openings may be used to observe the motion of the knife as it moves through the end effector.