Friday, June 03, 2005

The Surgeon as Technician......
Orac unleashes his disdain on a comment to this post at Pharyngula which reads:
Surgeons and other medical staff are the equivalent of technicians, engineers, plumbers or carpenters. They are not scientists. They are not studying the details of the relevant science. They don't have to understand it - just carry out procedures by rote. Though the ones who do have a clue will be a lot better at adapting to new circumstances because they'll make more correct guesses based on their understanding than the clueless ones will.
This is a misperception that surgeons have had to deal with since they stepped out of the barbershop. Surgery is much more than just operating. Orac puts forth the old piece of surgical wisdom:
We have a saying in surgery: "You can teach a monkey to operate; you just can't teach a monkey when to operate or who needs what operation--or what to do if things are not what expected."
Or as one of my attendings would tell us :Operating is easy, surgery is hard.The decision to operate requires a knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry,ect...because if you don't you are likely to end up with a dead patient. Operations have consequences, and a surgeon needs to know what they might be so that they may be addressed.
So I am technical, but not a technician.
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