50 Secrets Your Surgeon Won’t Tell You

It’s always interesting to hear what people say when you’re giving them anesthesia

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“I once had a guy who was a horse trainer who started going on about how this one horse was a sure thing to win. One of the nurses collected money from everyone in the operating room and bet on the horse. It came in second place. The smart people bet the horse to place, but some had bet the horse to win, so half the staff was happy, and the other was upset. He woke up and had no idea what kind of ruckus he’d caused.”—Michael Salzhauer, MD, a plastic surgeon in Miami, Florida

I did an intestinal operation on someone who had been stabbed

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“As I was running my hand along the bowel, I came upon something and said, ‘What the heck is this?’ It felt like a condom. Then all of a sudden, it wiggled! I dropped it, shocked. The guy had worms.” —Sid Schwab, MD, a retired general surgeon in Everett, Washington

During my six weeks as a surgical intern in the ER, I inadvertently stuck myself twice with contaminated needles…

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… briefly nodded off in the middle of suturing a leg laceration, accidentally punctured a guy’s femoral artery while trying to draw some blood, and broke up a fight between the family members of a guy who’d come in with a stab wound to the abdomen. I was slugged in the head by a delirious patient in an alcoholic rage, spat upon, coughed on, vomited on, farted on, bled on, and mistaken for an orderly.” —Paul Ruggieri, MD

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