As doctors, do you ever find surgery to be disturbing?

As part of our training, starting with anatomy in medical school we learn to look at the human body.  We emotionally distance ourselves.  You quickly learn that the surgery is necessary.  The first time I saw an arterial line being put in I was in college.  I nearly fainted as the anesthesiologist pushed the needle in and out.  What I forgot was the patient was already under and would feel nor remember (which turn out to be the same thing) the pain. 

We learn to be professional.  We have a job to do.  Think about the auto mechanic.  He might be working on a fancy car.  Does he do his job any differently?  He has changed so many spark plugs that another 4, 6, or 8 is just a job.  Do it well and move on.

In the OR we see people naked every day.  The first thing after anesthesia is taking off the gown and making sure the patient has not left some piece of jewelry on that could ground out an burn them when the electro-cautery is used.  This is anesthesia and the nurses who do this.  For long surgeries a catheter is put in.  Honestly said I cannot remember what any patient looked like naked.  I was in the corner writing my post-operative orders.  Unless called over to look at something (like a tattoo that I might have to work around if possible) I was emotionally disconnected and there to do a job and do my best at it.

All of the people are professionals otherwise if we had our emotions on, we couldn't cut people open and do what we do.  Really, you cut that person open, used high speed burs, drills, chisels (osteotomes), drilled holes in the spine, put on the plates and screws, then sewed them up?  Yes, but it was necessary and my emotions were off.  They needed it and I had the training. Was I concerned if things were going slowly or poorly...yes.

There are some thing that can't help but bother us.  Signs of abuse, the smell of a really bad infection (we use oil of wintergreen on our mask to help), the finding of something really bad for the patient.

We generally don't do big operations on our close friends or families.  We might be too close to turn our emotions off.  I once did a cervical fusion on a very good friend's wife (she was a good friend too).  I had trouble sleeping the night before.
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