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As I contemplate retirement from clinical practice as a general surgeon, something I've been doing for over 41 years including residency, I've been having some unsettling thoughts.

Like many physicians, I've tried to stay somewhat emotionally detached from my patients. You must maintain some distance in order to be able to make tough decisions and to keep on doing surgery for so long.

I have written in a previous blog about the effect of complications on the psyche of a surgeon, realizing of course, the patients and their families suffer even far more than I do. I’ve always taken complications personally, but lately I’ve been more acutely aware of this issue.

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