Saturday, December 20, 2008

"someone may just end up dead"

A blogger named Bongi from South Africa gives a sense of what it feels like to be a surgeon. For those of us who are not, this is an important insight. It must be considered if we are interested in process improvement and better teams in the ORs:

i try to refer away whatever i feel is not in my scope but once the knife goes through the skin you become suddenly very alone. it is too late to think there is someone else who can do the job better than you. you must be the best for that patient at that moment. this becomes more acutely true when something goes wrong and you have to dig yourself out of a difficult situation. the thing about difficult situations in my line of work is if you handle them not too well someone may just end up dead. somehow to believe you are the best does seem to give just that little more of an edge.

i am not justifying surgeon's arrogance and i hope never to be arrogant. but i can't imagine being able to do what i do without just a little more than the normal amount of self confidence.


Anonymous said...

I agree with him that it takes a certain confidence to cut a human body. I suppose any profession in which there's no turning back, in a big way, requires what can seem like arrogance. Architects, maybe, and diamond cutters.

Bongi said...

thanks for the kind appraisal.

e-Patient Dave said...

I am deeply moved. Bloggin' in now.

Anonymous said...

Paul and Bongi,
Great comments. I am the Periop PI Manager and a very large midwest academic center. I've always worked in the surgical side of life and have understood this psyche that drives surgeons. We try to harness this mindset to drive changes that will benefit patient care. Thanks for describing it so eloquently.

Anonymous said...

Words like please, thank you and excuse me aren't expected during a code or a surgery. It is when the same demeanor persists when a critical situation is not present that the same demeanor becomes unprofessional and a personal choice.

I have never found that arrogance equates excellence. At what step of the food chain at your hospital is it acceptable for those that choose to be arrogant because they can?