Lessons From the War Zone

Mon, 12/14/2009 - 5:27am
Pauline W. Chen, M.D.

One morning as a medical student on the surgery service, I learned about a patient who had been hemorrhaging on the operating table the night before. The intern who had assisted during the operation took great pains to describe every detail of the failed efforts of several senior surgeons and the final, ultimately lifesaving, maneuvers of the department chairman. “He came in and just got control of the bleeding,” the intern concluded, waving his hands as if the chairman’s work had involved magic.

How did he manage that?” one of my classmates asked.

“He’s one of the best,” the intern answered matter-of-factly. “He was a surgeon in Vietnam.”

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