Medicine Surgery

One reason I don’t do general surgery anymore

Two words: Necrotizing pancreatitis.

There’s nothing like repeated trips to the operating room to scoop out bits of dead pancreas, trips sometimes so frequent that we leave the abdomen open to facilitate repeat visits, in patients who are about as sick as any patient you’ll ever see. There are few, if any, problems in general surgery more challenging, and saving such patients gives an enormous sense of accomplishment. It’s also one area that distinguishes general surgeons from all other specialties. There’s no other surgeon or internist who can handle these cases. When the pancreatitis really gets too bad for the gastroenterologists to deal with, general surgeons are the docs of last resort.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned that, at least in my case, taking care of such critically ill patients is not compatible with running a successful laboratory and maintaining its funding. If my funding ever lapses and I’m forced to return to my surgical roots, these are the sorts of cases that could be waiting for me.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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