This skit reminds me of a half-remembered anecdote from Frank Vertosick Jr.’s classic book about neurosurgical training, ‘When The Air Hits The Brain‘.
After yet another brutal shift the Orthopedics Chief says to Frank (a neurosurgical resident at the time) and the Chief Neurosurgical resident:
Been a tough year for you guys hasn’t it.
The chief Neurosurgical resident responds:
Yeah, at least three times as tough as the toughest three years of an orthopedic surgeon’s training.
Really? And which three years are those then?
Chief Neurosurgical Resident:
Finally, budding neurosurgeons would do well to remember Frank T., Jr. Vertosick’s 5 rules of neurosurgery: [When the Air Hits Your Brain: Parables of Neurosurgery]
- You “ain’t never” the same when the air hits your brain.
- The only minor operation is one that someone else is doing.
- If the patient isn’t dead, you can always make him worse if you try hard enough.
- One look at the patient is better than a thousand phone calls from the nurse.
- Operating on the wrong patient or doing the wrong side of the body makes for a very bad day – always ask the patient what side their pain is on, which leg hurts, which hand is numb.
- Vertosick FT Jr. When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery. 2008
- Vertosick FT Jr. When the Air Hits Your Brain: Parables of Neurosurgery. 1996
Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.
After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.
He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE. He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.
His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.
On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.