Friday, January 30, 2015

No Surgeon is An Island

Even if they might secretly think so.

Always dubbed as the proverbial forced marriage in the field of medicine, surgeons and anaesthesiologists have always had a thorny relationship with all the prerequisite ups and downs that come with an involuntary alliance. Most times however the conversation remains somewhat cordial across the green barrier.

Surgeon : I'm always surprised how close you all are. 
Paul : Who?
Surgeon : Well the anaesthesiologists. 
Paul : Why not? We need to work together, no?

No doubt it was a sly comment on how I'm always lending a hand to my junior colleague in a different hospital. It was at the tip of my tongue to make a barbed reply but I decided to focus on my recorded notations instead. As the case may be, I've actually made a similar observation myself and have come up with several debatable conclusions based on my few years of experience.

Yeah, we're always watching. 

Let's face it, surgeons like to be number one. Easy enough to see such apparently kiasu behaviour displayed even on the television screens with medical dramas such as Grey's Anatomy. Wanting to be the best helps them strive desperately for surgical perfection which is invaluable to the hapless patient but it also makes them just a tad egotistical much to the detriment of their own peers.

And yes, to the much-abused scrub nurses.

How often have we heard a boastful surgeon denigrate the skills of his own associate! As a matter of fact, it happened barely moments before the previous conversation as the exasperated surgeon whined about how awful the previous surgery was and what a bloody mess had been left behind.

Surgeon : Don't know what the hell he was thinking of to attempt that procedure - and what a botched up job it was too. Take a look. 
Paul : Yeah? 
Surgeon : Bad, no? 
Paul : You know I'm not going to say anything about it, right? 

Which is why it's rare to have several surgeons of similar field with comparable years of practice scrub up together for a procedure - certainly sounds like the perfect prescription for medical mayhem as they would all attempt to run the show.

For anaesthesiology I think I've worked cooperatively with my peers... well, countless times. In anaesthesiology, we usually work as a team; in fact we work better together sometimes. Very little room for ego when there's always the need for an extra pair of hands. Tensions might rise as it inevitably does but we have learned well to keep our mouths shut ( always helpful in a panic-driven work environment ) and just get the work done.

Think my nurses can all attest to the fact that I never ever talk ill of my colleagues in anaesthesiology when it comes to their professional work. Perhaps it's a code of brotherhood that prevents me from speaking up - or maybe I just don't feel the need to make myself superior to any of my brethren. The work speaks for itself and I certainly don't have to add anything to it.

1 comment:

Tempus said...

Maybe its because of the large number of the human surgeons in the country that I see quite a fraction of them degrading their own people from the fraternity.

In veterinary of our country, at least the vets I've been under before try to watch their comments on other vets because they feel like being in the professional fraternity is really significant.

So much so, vets need to be surgeon and anaesthetist all in one during a surgery, we pretty much gauge how well a vet would be from the beginning of the consult to the end of the post-operation recovery; instead of just the surgery itself.

Probably because human doctors are too specialized for the betterment of the ulterior patients?