Strange Perils of Surgery

Just a quick post to pass on a little story my G.P. told me during a recent visit. This happened during his residency days. His supervising doctor had asked him to remove a drainage tube from a post-op patient. He gripped the tube and pulled with what seemed to him to be the necessary amount of force. Nothing happened. The tube refused to budge. He pulled ever so slightly harder, and still the tube stayed put. Resisting the urge to give the tube a violent tug, he summoned his supervisor and confessed that it seemed to be stuck. To make a long story short, an X-ray eventually revealed that one of the wires holding the man’s sternum together had snapped. One end had punched clean through the drainage tube, pinning it in place. If my G.P. had pulled any harder, he would literally have torn the patient’s chest open. I’m not normally squeamish, but I had to shudder when I heard this one.

David Hurwitz

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