Thursday, October 06, 2005


As I was signing up a patient in clinic for an operation, I dropped my pen on the floor. Instinctively, I uttered an "oops" as I bent over to pick up the pen. The patient then joked back, inquiring as to how often I say that during an operation. I smiled back and politely chuckled at his jest, thinking to myself, "How little you know..."

Small mistakes are made during operations all the time: A random blood vessel will bleed momentarily. An instrument will drop to the floor. A suture will break. Any number of random events will occur during the course of an operation that has ultimately little to no consequence on the outcome of the operation. They simply just act as a nuisance. On average I'd say there's about 2 to 3 "oops" uttered per hour.

What you don't want to hear from your surgeon during your operation is, "oh shit!"