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Nerves Of Surgeons

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"Is there such a thing as stage frigbt aruong surgeons?" a snccessfnl New York surgeon was asked. Though the term stage fright with reference to surgery was perhaps a niisnorner, the snrgeon understood the question. "Oh, yes, indeed, there is such a thing as stage fright among surgeons," he replied "There are two kinds of stage fright, or, rather, there are two different temperamento among doctors, and the fright, although in itself perhaps the sanie, has a different seeming, affected as it is by the material through which it passes. The first is the surgeon who is auxious to perform the operation, sees no difficulties in the way and nothing but a successful termination. His rest is üot distnrbed by reflections upon complicatious which may arise. Everything is lovely until the patiënt is bef ore him. Then his hand begins to shake if he meetswith difficulties which hehad not counted upon ; hi.s nervousness increases ; he hurries, perhaps with a fatal result In the case of this man he grows worse as he grows older, and iu oíd age he goes all to pieces. "There is another temperament of this order. From the time this snrgeon recoguizes that au operation is necessary there pass through his mind al) the complications which could possibly come up, and he wonders if there are not more which he h;is uot thought of. He is by no means sanguine of a happy result. He fears this and that and the other thing. As the hour approaches he dreads to commence his work more and more. But when he is before the subject his nervousness leaves him. He commenees intelligently, reflecting upon what might arise. He does not hurry or get excited, but he is inteusely interested, wholly absorbed by what he is doing. I rerneruber witnessing an operation by one of the most celebrated eaxgeons I ever knew. It was a most difficult operation, and the amphitheater was filled with doctors who had come to see it performed. A few moments before the surgeon was to commence he was presented by a friend to two doctors who had come from a distance to see him opérate. He bowed very politely and spoke a few words. Shortly af ter that he commenced operating. "The operation was of considerable length, and when it was finished the two gentlemen to whorn the surgeon had been preseuted approached to speak a congratulatory word or two. As he did not appear to recognize them, his friend presented them again. He expressed his pleasure at meeting them without the slightest recollectiou that he had met them. ' ' "Do y ou recall the first operation you ever performed Tourself?" "Indeed I remero ber it very well. I was in a hospital where títere were 3,500 beds and 33 surgeous in charge. I was one of the young assistant surgeons. If an operation was necessary in any of the wards, it was onr duty to report it to the surgeon in charge, who then perforined the pperatiou if he chose. I reported to my surgeon the necessity of an amputation of a great toe. The surgeou came and looked at the inau and concurred with rny opinión that an arnputation was necessary. I was directed to pet everything ready for tlie operation. 'Then,' said the surgeon, 'I will come and opérate if I can. If not, you go on and perform the operation yourself . ' ' ' I told my young associates of the order, and theysaid: 'Well, you go on and get ready, but he won 't come. Yon will have to do the operation yourself. ' And that was the way it turned out. The operation was to be at 2 o'clock. All the night before I was rehearsing what I intended to do in niy niind and drearning of it in iny sleep. The next day I could not eat niy luncheon. My hands and feet were cold. When it came time tocommence the operation, I could only steady my nerves by threading needies. I said: 'Give me theueedles to thread. I am very paricular abont my thread. ' I took a needie and commenced poking at the eye. In a few seconds my hand obeyed my will and became as steady as I could wish. I performed the operation successfnlly. After that I went on performing a great many operations, but it was years before I could take a 1 o'clock luncheon if I bad to opérate at 2 o'clock. "From the conscientious, scientific man apprehension never departs, for he i knows that it is impossible to foresee all things. And then, again, he takes in his hands a holy human life. If ;:i actor accentuates the wrong word or halts in his lines, the worst that can come is a slight damage to his reputation. If a Uiiiiister preaches heterodox doctrines, the worst that can happen to hini is a trial for heresy. But if the surgeon in a I dangerous operation makes but theslightest mistake it may resultin deatb, for which there is no remedv. Many ;iud many a time on the night prevlous to a serious operation have I awakened myself from an anxious, troubled sleep by performing the operation in my dreams. It is also very much more trying to a surgeon to opérate on a friend than on a stranger. I is hard to teil in this case who is more to be pitied, the surgeon or the patiënt. I thiuk the lon ger a man operates the less certaiu he is I of the outcome of auy operation. A frail little wornan that one would almost say a breath of wind would blow away will survive the most painfnl and dangerous operatioo wherearough, stockyaud iron built peasaut womaii that ne wanM think could survive almost auy possiblè operation will die froin somethiug which is not, as a rule, considered daueerous. "


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