Adonis Diaries

“The Good Old Days” surgeons

Posted on: January 27, 2009

Surgeons:  of “The Good Old Days?”,  (January 27, 2009)

Surgeon Bernard Debre described the surgeon job in one of his chapters.  The first paragraph is about technicalities.  The surgeon arrives to work before dawn to visit yesterday’s patients, he reassure the ones submitting to surgery, and then he reviews his files.  The operating room is ready and occupied by the nurses and anesthesiologists.  Five to seven hours later, the surgeon re-emerges happy, tired and a bit tense. The post operative stage starts with the patient sleeping off his anesthetic, in a special room in order to monitor all the vital parameters before his waking phase.

Now comes the paragraph on the good old attributes of surgeons during the good old days.  The surgeon is in consultation with his patients and fields questions and apprehensions, listens intently, and encourages communication and comprehension of the procedures.  He then visits those who were operated in the morning.  Many surgeon have to stay for night shift to receive emergency cases. 

Usually, the surgeon is off by 8 p.m. to return at dawn.  The surgeon is to “serve and share”; he is to serve man and alleviate his suffering and keep him alive; he is to share the emotions, apprehension, suffering, anxieties, sadness, and possibly happiness of the patients.  The surgeon might not sleep a wink worrying about whether “he has done all that should have been done, has he been up-to-date on the latest procedures and technologies”.  Being a surgeon is not just being dext in the fingers but resolving to many sacrifices.

I have submitted lately to a surgery. I saw the surgeon a fleeting moment before going to sleep (anesthesized) and then ten days later.  Yes, the surgeon serves barely two days in this hospital, and by his next arrival I was already out.  Ten days later, the surgeon didn’t have the tools or patience to remove the stitches so that he sent me to the emergency room for that task. 

Nobody explained to me what to expect after surgery, the complications for being overdosed on antibiotics, the deformations in my face (my normal figure not to my liking that much anyway), how long I should expect to revert to normalcy, whether a nerve has been severed, why I have the impression that I am chewing my mouth, and why the surgeon is not returning my calls.   

Nowadays surgeons have still dexterity in the fingers, I like to assume, and enjoy a wide range of support systems to perform surgery and they are still trained to wake up early.  Is the new generation surgeons’ motto “to serve and share” still valid practically? 

No wonder that the best candidates in medicines are opting for other lucrative specialties that set distances with the patients and their bothering inquiries.  No wonder that surgeons are enlisted in many hospitals for “part-time” tasks of performing the surgery and be gone and letting the nurses take care of everything. No wonder nurses are prized additions to hospital staff, since they are shouldering most of the responsibilities for modicum wages.

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

January 2009
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