Advice, like youth… (for surgeons)

You’re lucky.

By Sir Bobby Robson.

I tell you, I tell you: It was a life of pressure, great deal of tension, great deal of emotion, but there was also a great deal of excitement. You can’t lose that thrill. Because let me ask you this: How many people get that chance? The guy in the street? Or the fella you are gonna sit next to on the train? Or the taxi driver? Do they have that chance? You have that chance. You’re lucky.


By Regina Brett.

Overprepare (prepare for the worst), then go with the flow (and hope for the best). No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind. When in doubt, just take the next small step. You can get through anything if you stay put in today. Believe in miracles. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

What other people think of you is none of your business. Forgive everyone everything. Yield.

In good faith.

By Stephen Westaby.

‘When you are worried about bleeding ask yourself this: Is it your blood? No. Relax’. Mr Joe McGoldrick.

‘I have three patients on my list today. I wonder which one will survive’. Sir Russell Brock.

Never get involved. Walk away and try again tomorrow. ‘This may seem insensitive, even callous, but to dwell on death was a dreadful mistake then, and it still is now. We must learn from failure and try to do better the next time. But to indulge in sorrow or regret brings unsustainable misery. I strived to provide a better life for them. Liberate them from impending doom. I did this in good faith, yet sometimes without success. So what do I do? Sit with the weeping parents in a dark mortuary holding a cold, lifeless hand, blaming myself for taking that risk? All heart surgery is a risk. Those of us who make it as surgeons don’t look back. We move on to the next patient, always expecting the outcome to be better, never doubting it.

A privilege…

And some perspective.

It is a great privilege operating on a patient that needs it. You have acquired and honed the skills and knowledge to save (or improve the quality of) their life but this is in no way guaranteed. The most valid and valuable auditor is your conscience… and a clear conscience usually ensures a good night’s sleep. At the end of the day, you can only do your best.

Get outside everyday. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

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