Monday, March 1, 2010

The big and the small

Deepak cut away the knot I had tied. "I know you have probably done a lot of surgery in Africa. But practice doesn't make perfect if you repeat a bad practice. Let me ask you something, Marion...Do you want to be a good surgeon?"
I nodded.
"The answer isn't an automatic yes. Ask Sister Ruth. In my time here, I've asked that question of a few others." I could feel my ears turning red. "They say yes, but some should have said no. They didn't know themselves. You see, you can be a bad surgeon, and as a rule you will make more money. Marion, I must ask you again, do you really want to be a good surgeon?"
I looked up.
"I guess I should ask what does it involve?"
"Good. You should ask. To be a good surgeon, you need to commit to being a good surgeon. It's as simple as that. You need to be meticulous in the small things, not just in the operating room, but outside. A good surgeon would want to redo this knot. You're going to tie thousands of knots in your lifetime. If you tie each one as well as humanly possible, you'll experience fewer complications....The big things in surgery depend on the little things."
-Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese

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