What’s it like to perform surgery for the very first time?

Sure you’ll know what you’re doing and had plenty of practice on things that aren’t people. Sure you’ve watched others doing it. But what’s it like the very first time you cut somebody open to make them healthy? Is there extra fear of messing it up? Were you fairly confident?

(This question was originally posted on Quora, and below is a selection of the best relevant answers.)

Answers:

Robert Gluck

You’re one year old and taking your first steps. Your mom holds your hand as you waddle along with your little padded tush and she let’s go. You’re walking! Yeah! It’s all heavily scripted but what do you know? Mom makes sure that you’re well protected. No stairs. No sharp corners. You fall, you get up.

Training as a surgeon, the first few times you think you’re flying on your own…hopefully you’re not. But, what about that very first time when you’re really flying solo? On the other side of the blade, the scalpel, the lancet, the knife…on the receiving end of your services, is someone you were talking to a bit earlier. Or maybe it was their family. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s an emergency and you’ve never even met! One way or another, on the other side of the knife is someone who feels, who dreams, who lives a life. Someone with a past, a present, and a future that you will help shape…or un-shape. Someone who trusts. You.

They trust you. To get it right. To do your best. And maybe your mom’s not around. Or…you are the mom. And there’s no one else to ask. The buck stops here? So, through your exhilaration, your apprehension, your fear, you need to focus…your life depends on it. Well, as it so happens, not your life. Their life! Their pleasure, their pain, their existence. You deal. You are the house. Focus. Plan. Stay a step or two ahead. Biological systems are complex. Shit happens. Shit like unexpected bleeding. Like weird anatomy. Like infection. And later…Scarring. Recurrence. Metasteses. Wet and dirty bandages. Bandages that fall off. Are too tight. Patients who don’t listen. Patients who are scared and in pain. Your first surgery doesn’t begin and end in the OR. But for now…stay focused…cut sharp and think sharp!

Laszlo B. Tamas, Neurosurgeon with ties to the Bay area and Silicon Valley.

Memory is a filter, and I think mine is more of a filter than most. Frankly, I don’t remember my first surgery as an event. I remember trepidation, clumsiness, slowness, having to think about every step, and sometimes impatience and even hostility from the supervising surgeon.

And since then, a slow, steady growth in ability, understanding, of conscious movement becoming subconscious, of befriending margins without passing them to normal brain, of having an intuitive “feel” for the brain, gray and white matter (subtle), arteries, veins, arterialized veins, and now no longer having any anxiety about cases except for the most unusual and risky. And, looking back at the “surgeon” of 20 years ago, recognizing what a dolt I was! (and maybe not being so hard on the other young dolts I come across). Read all the answers here.

The Darker Side Of Medicine: Another Doctor Assaulted While On Duty

Being a doctor is a noble calling. All those years spent in medical school, then specialization, more studying, sleepless nights on duty, etc… Learning never really ends when you decide to commit yourself to this profession.

It takes years, even decades for a person to become a good medical professional.

But, not everyone knows how to appreciate all the efforts a doctor has to go through his/her education.

Here is the story of Dr Mohammed Ruda, from Baghdad (Iraq). Dr Ruda is a resident in general surgery at the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Iraq. He is currenty preparing his Phd in surgery.

While he was on call, this Wednesday, a female patient was admitted to the hospital. In the Emergency Room, she presented with severe right lower abdominal pain, with a possibilty of appendicitis. Dr Ruda came to examine the patient for rebound tenderness. 

But, what came next, no one could predict…..

Instead of helping the female patient, the doctor was hit in the face by the patient’s husband, who was against the medical check-up. He did not allow Dr.Ruda to examine his wife.

The doctor ended up with bloody nose and a possible fracture. (See picture below)

According to Dr Ruda’s colleagues, attacks like this one, are almost common thing in this hospital. That’s certanly not an environement anyone would want to work in.


When we talk about security in hospitals in general, it’s always directed toward a patient. But what about doctors?Cases like these show us that doctors are not safe in their own workplace.If the patients (or their family members) are free to assault a doctor, who is going to treat them later on?

We need to stop and think for a minute, as this kind of behavior should not be tolerated.

Complete medical personnel, from nurses, technicians, paramedics to doctors needs to be treated with respect and gratitude. Those people are the ones that put their lives aside, to save somebody else.

Recognize their effort, and show them you are thankful for their care and help.

Share if you care!

Image used: http://focus.cnhubei.com/consensus/200912/t883804.shtml