Sunday, March 18, 2012

Behind the Mask

Unless you work in an operating room, the routine of what to expect may be rather frightening and foreign. The anesthesiologist makes sure patients fall asleep and somewhere between the induction agents and analgesics there is very little remembered. It's no wonder so many are mystified by the effects of a surgeon's cold steel before, during and after an operation.

The Mystique of Surgery

Surgeon David Gelber recognized he was captivated by the operative challenge that is surgery early in his career, yet so many of his patients were unawares of what to expect. In an effort to shed light on how a surgeon is capable of cutting open human flesh, repairing pathologic organs and un-opening a patient for maximized healing, Dr. Gelber has written Behind the Mask: The Mystique of Surgery and the Surgeons Who Perform Them. While doubling as his memoir, Dr. Gelber pens a thought process from start to finish of how operative cases are approached to promote a successful outcome.

Sometimes funny, at other points emotional, the reader journeys through surgical cases and how they molded Dr. Gelber's career. Life saving operations and split-second decisions are among the many stories which depict a professionally educated approach to patient anomalies and diseases. Despite an eager attempt at simplifying the language to be read by all, I felt there existed a writing style that would be better understood by medical personnel or those familiar with basic medical terminology. Commonly, definitions were given and ideas explained, but occasionally the reader may be left confused about anatomical or medical associations. Nonetheless, the text proved to be a quick read that entertained with sophistication and matter-of-fact generalizations. I enjoyed seeing through a surgeon's eyes how he performs his duties. With this piece, the surgical unknown may no longer be cloaked in mystery as it once was, rather, it brings knowledge to the lost time and memories experienced while laying on the surgeon's operating table.

Question of the Week
An 8 year old girl comes to your office complaining of a sore throat for 3 days. Her mother reports the patient had a maximum temperature of 101.5F yesterday that resolved with Acetaminophen, no wheezing, no cough, no ill contacts and no recent travel. On exam, the patient's temperature is 100.8F, tonsils are erythematous with gray-white exudate, and anterior cervical lymphadenopathy on the left. The treatment of choice is which of the following:

A. Observation with "watchful waiting"
B. Amoxicillin with Clavulinic Acid
C. Penicillin V
D. Amoxicillin
E. Ibuprofen

Answer & Explanation

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