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Why Choose Cardiothoracic Surgery?

Monday, March 17, 2008
It was now 4 AM, the bronchial and pulmonary artery anastomoses were complete and the last stitch in the atrial cuff was just being finished. "Inflate the lung," and the lifeless pale lung slowly began to move and grow ever so slightly with each new breath. After a while the vascular clamps were released and the lung instantly flashed from white to pink and the atrial anastomosis was tied. With each breath, the purple of atelectesis was replaced with pink aerated lung--the lung had come alive.
Why one becomes a cardiothoracic surgeon is a complicated question, but it is the wonder and beauty of surgery that first gets you hooked and can still amaze you after thousands of cases. It makes you remember why you love surgery, why you do this even in the middle of the night and on weekends, and why you get out of bed so early in the morning. But there is more to being a surgeon, there is a bigger gift. It is the ability to make a priceless difference in someone’s life, someone that without the gift of surgical training I would have never had the opportunity to meet, and never had the chance to help. Surgeons are welcomed into very intricate parts of people's lives, providing knowledge and offering hope where often there was none.
Being a surgeon is one of those things that you just know is right. You ask lots of questions, you ponder the possibilities, and then one day it just hits you--there is nowhere else you would rather be than the OR and nothing else you would rather do than operate. At the beginning and periodically throughout your career your mind may not know or remember why, but your heart always does. From the first time you see a heart beating, a new lung fill with air or the relief on a patient's face when you say that all the tumor was removed- you know that there is nothing else you could ever do or be that could compare with the life of a cardiothoracic surgeon for even a single day.

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