Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What the Nurse Really Means when She Says All Surgeons are the Same

I overheard a conversation between a nurse and a patient at the cataract clinic.

Patient:” Nurse, are you sure the surgeon who is going to operate on me next week is good? Can you ask a good one to operate on me?”

Nurse: “All the eye doctors here are the same, they are equally good. No to make choices!”

I looked across the room and noticed it was the same nurse who asked me to operate on her father several years ago. Her father was scheduled to be operated by a senior surgeon but two days before the surgery the senior surgeon fell sick and took a one-week sick leave. Her father was rescheduled to be operated by a different surgeon.

Nurse:” Doc, could you go into the theatre tomorrow to operate on my father?”

I:”I thought doctor X is going to do the operation!”

Nurse:”But I am scared that the result would be bad.”

I:”How do you know?”

Nurse: “I have seen his operations, he is very rough with the patients and has lots of complications.”

I:”But I would upset him if I went in during his list, I am sure you can find some excuses to delay the operation until the senior surgeon returns.”

The nurse duly informed the doctor in-charge of the operating list that her father had persistent cough and could not have operation the next day.


1. Not all surgeons are the same, the nurses know best even if they don’t want to say it.

2. While it is complimentary to be regarded as a better surgeon, never upset your colleague by taking away his/her patient.

3. For elective surgery, there is no need to compromise on outcomes by subjecting your loved one to less able hands.

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