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It’s such a nice day, why don’t we take this open heart surgery outside?

Dr-cropDr Henry Bozeman, Cincinnati Free Hospital

It’s performing life-changing heart surgery like this that makes me glad I went into medicine. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that the gentleman laid out here could live well into his sixties because of the coronary grafting procedure we’re carrying out. And to be doing so on such a delightful spring day, well, it just makes you feel grateful to be alive.

In fact, it’s such a lovely morning, why don’t we take Mr Michaels’ bypass outside?

Twenty years ago, this patient would only have had a fifty per cent chance of surviving an operation like this. But now that we have minimally invasive techniques like the one we’re using today, complications have been reduced tenfold. Which is why I suggest we continue this fellow’s surgery down by the lake.

What could go wrong? The latest research shows mortality rates in cardiac surgery are down to around four per cent. Also, I hear Oncology is holding its annual spring barbecue down there today.

God it’s good to feel the sun on your shoulders as you work. Whatever you’re doing – whether it’s taking the kids to school, or delicately repairing damage to a man’s fibrous pericardium – it’s always more pleasant when the sun is shining.

It makes you wish it could be like this all year round. Although if it was, I’m sure we’d get tired of hauling unconscious patients down four flights of stairs, across the parking lot, through security and across the grass to this spot right by the cook-off.

Nurse, hand me the catheter please. Thank you. Now the forceps. And once you’ve sterilised that scalpel, pass me a hot dog if you would. With chilli sauce. Thank you.

Of course, there’s no way of knowing if this procedure has been wholly successful until Mr Michaels wakes up. Cardiac surgery does carry a risk of incidental neurological damage, and strokes have also been known to occur in a small number of cases. But I’m confident that this particular operation has gone well.

Having said that, spilling root beer on Mr Michael’s groin might not have been all that hygienic. And it probably wasn’t a great idea to let that bee land on his chest. Did anybody see where it went, by the way? Still, I’m sure he’ll forgive these minor setbacks once he comes round, looks in the mirror and sees the healthy glow of a man who has a fully-functioning heart – and has spent a few hours in the sun.

Hang on, was that a spot of rain? Oh well, looks like we’d better finish off this cardiothoracic surgery back in the hospital after all. But when we get there, Dr Philips, I’m going to let you stitch up the patient’s chest. You’ve made good progress lately, and I think you’re well able to take responsibility for this part of the procedure unsupervised.

Besides, I really need to head off. I’ve got an endovascular aneurysm repair down at the beach at two.