"It has been a common notion historically that surgery is primarily a technical exercise and that its practitioners' are a concrete or even brutish lot. The surgeon's fascination with body mechanics and the cold facts of anatomy, together with his propensity to seek bold solutions, do seem to stand in contrast to the image many have of the sober, thoughtful diagnostician. Indeed, the very nature of some dramatic, oft-depicted surgical scenarios (e.g. hemorrhage) requires that the physician "attack" with the silent swiftness of an automaton. However, the surgeon's aggressiveness and his/her willingness to "invade" the body itself in search of solutions must not be misinterpreted.
For the skilled practitioner, speedy interventions are based upon even speedier reasoning, and bold operative plans are the product of intellectual processes that draw upon logic, personal experience and the accumulated knowledge of others; not to mention, the essential need to establish a trusting relationship with the patients and family members, often within the context of an emergency where there is little time. At New York Hospital Queens, surgical practice and surgical education have both been founded upon a dedication to rigorous and honest intellectual processes. As our doctors plan and carry out their treatments, guiding surgeons-to-be through the essential technical exe
rcises, all are involved in a rich and continuous intellectual exchange out of which both better understanding and better care are born. As we train tomorrow's surgeons, it is my hope that they may be in all essential ways like those from whom they learn... bold, but thoughtful... aggressive, but introspective... confident, yet receptive to new ideas. I would hope that each would be like the colleagues I encounter daily, constantly reviewing their methods and their performance, seeking to understand how they might better serve their patients."
— James W. Turner, MD