Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence. -Vince Lombardi “So, can you leave this here with us?" I was part of a group of U.S. surgeons traveling to Eldoret, Kenya, seeing patients and helping the Kenyan ENT surgeons learn surgical techniques. Our two week mission allowed us to work across-the-table from Kenyan colleagues, discussing surgical approaches, demonstrating techniques, and reviewing all aspects of surgical care. “I have never seen such a thing!” my ...

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I was working side-by-side with a Kenyan ENT doctor at his hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. My wife, Kathi, and I were part of a team of head and neck surgeons organized by Indiana University spending two weeks working with Kenyan ENT surgeons to help them build confidence to perform operations independently. In rapid sequence, we were seeing dozens of patients who had signed up to be examined and hoping to ...

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The future of robotic surgery can be determined only by probing the possibilities. To ignore the potential for extending the boundaries and safety of surgical care with robotic technology seems unwise. -"The Future of Robotics," Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons (July) 2013; 98:9-15. It is a spring morning in July 2047. Jenny, a nursing assistant, emerges from an exam room and gently closes the door. She is wearing scrubs tastefully covered with ...

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You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. -Steve Jobs "Doesn't that window open any wider? Bring in another fan!" the surgeon demands. Beads of sweat gather at the edge of his cloth cap and the circulating nurse steps up periodically to wipe them away. Heat and city noise roll through the open windows and into the operating room. The brief morning rain shower has left the ...

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Medicine offers you a front-row seat on life. Meaning is all around you. When you can see it, it gives you a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to do this work. -Rachel Naomi Remen The first-year medical student cried openly during the session. Not hard, but enough to be embarrassed. “I’m really sorry,” she said, “but this is one of the things that scares me most about going into medicine. I cry ...

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Do not now look for the answers … At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer. -Rainer Maria Rilke Two men, Ted and Ron, were long-term professional colleagues. I do not believe that they were particularly close, but they had been acquainted during their working lives. Each had retired. In what was a remarkable coincidence, both men were diagnosed with ...

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Historians are left forever chasing shadows, painfully aware of their inability to ever reconstruct a dead world in its completeness. -Simon Schama “Tell me about your prior cancer treatment,” I say. “When did you have the surgery and radiation?” “It wasn’t a surgery,” He tells me emphatically. “It was a biopsy.” “But the doctor SAID it was a surgery!” chimes in his wife. “Yes, Dad. You have a long scar on your neck,” adds his ...

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Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? -Henry David Thoreau It is almost 7:00am I carry my briefcase and lunch bag from the car to my office. I nod to some of the night shift employees heading home. Another day has begun. I type my password and check the computer, reminding myself of the twenty patients I am scheduled to see today ...

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Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are. -Jose Ortega y Gasset The senior resident hauled our little band of medical students down to the radiology file room. As he dug through the heavy manila x-ray jacket searching for films, he told us the patient’s story. “This 63-year-old lady was really sick when she came in. Heart attack a couple of years ago. New trouble ...

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God helps those who help themselves. -Something that sounds like truth but fortunately isn’t mentioned in any religious text “I’m gonna beat this thing again, Doc! I just know it!” Over the course of several years, I helped care for a man with a very rare cancer that recurred over-and-over. With each new tumor, he became more focused on beating the disease and despite the repeated setbacks, he remained eternally positive. He spent ...

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