Society for the Prevention of Surgery

UCEM investigators recently learned of the existence of a shadowy organization known as the Society for the Prevention of Surgery.

“What is the Society for the Prevention of Surgery?”, I hear you cry.

Well, the LITFL team also wanted to know, so we asked UCEM’s Professor Inglebert Struvite Staghorn to explain. This is what the Director of UCEM’s Inquisitorial Disciplinary Committee had to say:

“We have suspected the existence of such a society for quite some time now. The identities of the society’s members are frequently shrouded in secrecy and are difficult to ascertain. However, UCEM investigators have developed a powerful tool for profiling suspects. Validation studies have repeatedly shown it to have excellent performance characteristics.”

The profile consists of a scoring system using the following items:

  • even though the anesthetic tech has checked the anesthetic machine three times, the individual always insists on rechecking it his/herself (and, in the process, usually disrupts some key component that the tech then needs to correct while the individual isn’t watching).
  • the individual is left dumbfounded by the notion that there could be more than one way of doing something.
  • the individual draws up each of the following drugs in triplicate (in case two of each fall on the floor at the same time): adrenaline (in at least 4 different dilutions), atropine, ephedrine, intralipid, metaraminol, midazolam, propofol, sugammadex, suxamethonium and thiopentone.
  • the individual regularly attends Sudoku-aholics Anonymous meetings.
  • the individual believes that a serum potassium of 3.3 mmol/L is a strict contra-indication for any kind of surgery — regardless of the indication or patient’s condition.
  • compared to blood stains, coffee stains are at least 12,387 times more likely to be found on the individual’s scrubs.
  • no operation can proceed unless the individual has confirmed that at least 10 units of blood are cross-matched and available in the operating theatre.
  • the individual refers to the drape separating him/herself from the surgeon as ‘the blood-brain barrier’.
  • no operation can proceed unless the patient has at least two 14 gauge intravenous cannulae in situ.
  • no operation can proceed until the individual has found a spare socket for ipod and speakers. (hat tip to @pieterpeach)
  • no operation can proceed until the duty anaesthetist has confirmed that the individual will be relieved for a morning tea break, a lunch break, an afternoon tea break and that come hometime (about 3:30 pm) they will be immediately relieved for urgent convalesence after their full day’s work.
  • when asked to state the main role of the anaesthetist, the individual responds emphatically: “to stop the surgeon killing the patient” (rather than correctly reciting the Anaesthetist’s Hymn — see below).”

For each of these items 1 point is accumulated. A score of 3 or more has a positive-predictive value of 103.4% for the identification of the individual as a bona fide member of the Society for the Prevention of Surgery. We believe that the use of this tool will allow utopian medical practitioners to identify Society members early, thus allowing any obstacles that may arise to be anticipated and, hopefully, overcome.”


The Anaesthetist’s Hymn (by the Amateur Transplants — @amateursuman and @amateuradam)

Utopian College of Emergency for Medicine

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.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

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