Last week I operated on someone I knew, not a close friend or relative but a vague acquaintance. This has happened before but previously I have been assisting someone else and not been the main surgeon. In summary, she presented late at night with bad acute appendicitis and I took her to theatre for a laparoscopic appendicectomy. Dead straight forward.
This patient got the best version of me that I have ever been. I explained at length the course of events that would unfurl over the next few hours as we waited on bloods and anaesthetists, I consented her (in my best writing) very thoroughly, I diligently checked every piece of paperwork and the bloods ensured her anti-thrombotic measures were adhered to, personally prescribed her analgesia and was available to her family to carefully explain the operation.
Then in theatre I asked for the 5mm operating laparoscope to ensure a smaller port and therefore smaller scar, I took the more expensive but smaller ports for the same reason. The operation was exactly as I would have done for anyone and I closed the wounds in my standard fashion.
Stay with me, because there is a lesson in here. I should be doing this all the time, for everyone, always. And I’m ashamed to say that most the time I am not as good and thorough and patient and personally deliver the care that I gave to this patient. They all get the same technical operation but they don’t always get the service that I gave this girl. Bad of me, but sometimes it is so busy that you forget that what you are meant to be doing is care for someone and not just complete as efficiently as possible a series of tasks.