Saturday, January 09, 2010
I spent the day watching spine surgeons implant new devices in to cadavers. All part of making new products that help surgeons help their patients. I took some photographs, and rather liked this one.
For the cognoscenti among you, that's a posterior lumbar interbody fusion.
Cadavers were just for anatomy in my heyday. Surgery was "See one, do one, teach one" on live humans.
Of course, that works if there are 3000 applicants for every 100 medical school positions.
The future will almost certainly be...well, let's just say, "interesting".
All the "creme de la creme" will be getting business and law degrees instead of wasting their time in medicine.
"See one, try one, kill one"
The director of our dog lab was Vivian Thomas, a remarkable man and superb surgeon. He helped develop the technical aspects of surgery for congenital heart disease with Alfred Blalock.
Those labs were spotless and the animals received suberb care...better than some hospitals I've been in.
The poor animals would have been destroyed by the pound had they not been used for research and training. All had careful attention to proper anesthesia and humane treatment.
I liked the dogs more than most PETA members I've met. Many of them were adopted and given homes. After PETA started making a big stink, the animals were euthanized rather than released to the public with healed incisions.
I suppose computer simulation training may be more humane, but the experience clearly helped train hundreds of surgeons and researchers.
JPMcT- How lucky for you to have had the opportunity to know and work with Mr. Thomas. Their story is an amazing one given the era in which performed their *miracles* and the difference of skin color between the two men. It was also the subject of an excellent movie, "Something That God Made" starring Alan Rickman, of "Die Hard" and "Harry Potter" fame, that depicts the trials and errors of Dr. Blaylock and Vivian Thomas' incredible work.
He was a local legend at Hopkins back in the mid 70's when I had the honor of working with him, but still very much a humble man for a person of such enormous (albeit, at that time, unrecognized) accomplishment.
Just found this this photo and your blog on a google image search of Posterior Lumbar Fusion. My husband had the surgery about a week ago for scoliosis. His surgeon has a lifetime is experience (and might have even started out on dogs back in the day). Thanks for posting the photo!