Thursday, July 21, 2016

Surgeons who shouldn't be surgeon

I was having a conversation with some colleagues recently about surgeons who really shouldn't be surgeons.

For example, they were talking about surgeons who just had clumsy hands or were bad at suturing. One person told me about a CT surgery fellow who had a HORRIBLE essential tremor.

The problem is that generally people are accepted to surgery residencies based on grades and research. And maybe even interpersonal skills. But how can you even tell if a med student is clumsy with his hands? Aren't they all?

I guess I feel sort of bad for a surgery resident who discovers that they really kind of suck at surgery. But what can they do at that point?

(Also, I feel sorry for their patients.)


  1. Do they not do *any* kind of surgery before they apply for the residency? I know veterinary medicine is significantly different, but surgery resident potentials have all done at least three surgeries on their own through student classes and scrubbed in (actually helped, not just watched) for several more in the last two years of school. That way at least they know if they suck at it!

  2. We definitely got assessed on our motor skills as Med students. If you end up sucking at surgery you can always do critical care, research, or just surgeries that require less technical skill. It's a big field!

  3. The essential tremor probably showed up long after his residency as well. That would be a tough one to know what to do after twenty years of working, but still well before retirement age.

    1. Oops, just reread it and realized he was a fellow. But it does seem like something that could show up later in your career.

  4. Also, I have definitely known physicians in all specialties who shouldn't be practicing. I don't know if they are aware of it themselves. It would be tough after all that schooling to give it up, but it would also be awful to practice, knowing you couldn't do a very good job.

  5. I guess that surgery resident needs to change residencies.. FAST!

  6. Switch to path?

    I'm not in a surgical specialty, but I initially wanted to do gen surg when I was a med student (and not just initially but almost to the match!). I really like procedures and, if I may, I'm rather good at them. I'm fairly sure that I'd do well from a technical standpoint as a surgeon, but self-selected out mainly because of lifestyle concerns.