Circulation 75,648 • Volume 20, No. 1 • Spring 2005   Issue PDF

Surgeon Should Give Feedback to His Health Care Team First

Elizabeth T. Young, MD

To the Editor

I am amazed by the response to the anonymous surgeon/patient’s perioperative experience recounted in the 2004-5 winter issue of the APSF Newsletter. I have been in practice for 20 years, in both academic and private practice settings. Currently, I practice in a tertiary care referral center with an anesthesia residency. The overwhelming majority of “anesthesia providers” are dedicated to excellent patient care and very professional in their approach to the patient. I am sorry that this surgeon/patient did not have quite the perioperative experience he was expecting. However, he needs to direct his criticism in a constructive way toward the anesthesia team responsible for his care, and not toward the entire specialty. Interestingly, if I wrote to a surgical newsletter to complain about my surgeon, the letter would probably not be published. I would be told, “Gee, honey, go discuss this with your surgeon.” As a specialty we seem to have a collective inferiority complex! But, why? Advances in surgery would not be possible without advances in the field of anesthesiology. Anesthesiologists have pioneered fields like intensive care medicine and pain medicine. The ABA is committed to the continuing education of its members. The residents that I train are as intelligent, dedicated, and hard working as any surgery resident, if not more so. Coming to work is a pleasure, and I consider myself blessed to work with such competent individuals. I have a great suggestion. Let’s invite Dr. Phil McGraw to the next ASA meeting. Maybe he can figure out the basis for this collective inferiority complex, because I can’t! I can, however, recommend one helpful exercise for those who might still suffer from such a complex. Before you leave for work in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, “Damn I’m good!”

Elizabeth T. Young, MD
New Orleans, LA