I’m a medical doctor. Ghanaian Doctors have two first, broad options just like in most places worldwide: Physician or Surgeon. Simply put, a question of whether you’re more comfortable in the Consulting Room or the Operating Room. Without going too far into the nitty gritty of those options, let me just say that it’s the first question I ask junior colleagues when they’re almost through with their mandatory rotations through Housemanship and feel confused as to what path to take in terms of choosing a future specialty to focus on – “Are you a Surgeon or a Physician?” Answering it is the first real step in figuring out which path to take and believe it or nor, even an answer of “I’m not sure” has a direction in which it’s pointing the person. Basically, I’m asking them “Who do you think you are?”
Now the thing here is that I, in particular, am a Surgeon by blood – literally & figuratively. I come alive in the OR and I survive through most of the less exciting consulting room work because it’s preparing both the patient & me for the OR in a significant number of cases. I’ve leant towards Obstetrics & Gynaecology though and the most common surgical procedure there is the Caesarean Section. Done in time and properly, you save both the baby and mother in one fell swoop and even if she doesn’t bother to say “Doctor, thank you!” at the end of the day (like most do), it helps you sleep at night because you know you did your best that day.
In the effort to become better however, we time ourselves because our proficiency with the procedure may be evidenced to how fast you finish the operation – the underlying Truth, however, is that it’s better to take too long and not have to open up again because you messed up, than to finish at record speed with further complications on your hands!
In training someone to perform a Caesarean Section, it’s often important to teach how to get to the baby and deliver it in record time – under a minute preferably – because most reasons for a C/S involve a dire need to deliver the baby in haste. It’s very rewarding to deliver a baby in mere seconds, but with time you realise that it may be responsible for actually lengthening your total operating time! How?? In entering the abdomen and uterus for delivery, you have different options on how and where to cut but cutting wrongly, while it will result in quick delivery, is more than likely to cause you to have one hell of a time in closing up afterward!
In my short time supervising people learning under me, I’ve come across both types of people – those obsessed with a short operating time, and those dedicated to the Method. Considering the number of times I had to be called to try and fix some error or the other made by both categories, I’d say the former make the wrong choice every time. This realisation got me thinking as I tried to get better at my work since I began. Read More The Window or The Door? You Decide…