You may have heard of the amazing story of Heather McNamara, and her surgeon, Tomoaki Kato.
She was the 7-year old who had to have six organs removed, in order to access a tumor that previous doctors had deemed inoperable.
The operation was a success, but the 23-hour procedure left Dr. Kato at the brink of exhaustion.
In fact, he said, “I am used to long surgeries, but not this type. I usually don’t get exhausted at the end. Sometimes I’ll get tired, but not to the point where you have trouble keeping yourself up. This surgery got me to that level. It was an intense 23 hours.”
Had Dr. Kato been a resident, work-hour restrictions would have prohibited such a procedure. Which leads me to think that, since today’s surgeons-in-training cannot operate for more than 16 hours at a time, the chances of someone successfully performing a similar feat in future generations would be markedly reduced.