The patient had a large abscess surrounding his spleen. On a large screen in the middle of the operating room, I watched a surgeon drain the fluid collection and remove the organ with small metal tools.
I remember the surgeon navigating the complex anatomy with alacrity, handling the laparoscopic equipment with expert finesse, and quickly and confidently answering the battery of questions from the assisting medical student. To a young and reverent observer, this surgeon seemed to know everything.
So at the end of the case I asked how much the procedure would cost the patient.
“I’m not really sure. It’s … kind of complex,” the surgeon vaguely responded.