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What it's like to cut open a living body for the first time as a surgeon

March 8, 2015, 2:36 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 415

By @mariocantin

Written by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo -- originally posted on Quora.com

I suppose every doctor will interpret the experience differently.  Also, there are many different stepwise experiences over years that lead to such a moment.

They start with the dissection of animals and of a human body, then years of assisting in the operating room and finally culminating on the day when you single-handedly meet, assess, diagnose and consent your patient and an hour later he fully submits to being drugged beyond the ability to breath for himself and into the hands of strangers.  As his surgeon, you are alone, handling his organs on the arrogant promise that you can fix what nature got wrong.

For me there was an extra challenge: by the time I did my first case completely solo (at night while on-call) I was a doing pediatric surgery so my patients were children.  The understanding was therefore made with the parents, grounded on whatever rapport I managed to establish with them in a matter of minutes, often in a noisy hallway or E.R. cubicle.

To me, each and every operation has been a kind of communion of mutual trust in the face of undeniable vulnerability. It is a humbling honor that inspires one to be better.

I always took the signing of a consent very seriously and will never forget the look on a parents face as they hand over their child's care and life to a stranger.

I hope that gives you a better idea of what it's like to cut somebody open for the first time.

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Source: www.quora.com. Link: http://www.quora.com/What-does-it-feel-like-for-a-doctor-to-cut-open-a-living-body-for-the-first-time

Republished with permission, as per Quora's Terms of Service, under the subsection titled, "Quora's Licenses to You".

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