Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Anesthesiologists Are The Most Unappreciated Physicians

Ever feel like anesthesiologists are not appreciated by patients or other hospital staff? At this time of year, the lack of recognition is particularly acute. While surgeons and internists receive gifts by the truckload, the anesthesiologist almost always receives nothing. Hell, even the nurses usually get some sort of card acknowledging their care while the patient was in the hospital. We just go on doing our routine and try to suppress our urge to scream at the top of our lungs, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

If you think this is an isolated feeling, now there is a book that recognizes this ingratitude. In Time.com, author David Zweig has written, "Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work In An Age of Relentless Self-Promotion." People with these kinds of under-appreciated jobs share three character traits: ambivalence toward recognition," "meticulousness," and "savoring of responsibility." He mentions several professions that work in the background but are essential for the ultimate success of the endeavor.

For instance, cinematographers of movies are frequently overshadowed by their more flamboyant directors. Structural engineers are essential in making sure buildings will remain intact under adverse conditions. Yet it is the architect who gains the most publicity for a building design. I'm sure you can name at least one famous architect, from Frank Lloyd Wright to I.M. Pei, but can you name their structural engineers?

Then there is the anesthesiologist. Always in the shadow of the surgeon, the anesthesiologist is never the doctor spotlighted in TV and movies. And if they are, it's usually as some drug addled addict endangering the patient until the surgeon comes to the rescue. As Dr. Alberto Scarmato told the author, "It's funny how on TV the surgeon is the leader of the OR, but in reality, during an emergency they're often the ones freaking out, looking to me for assurance."

So if you're the kind of person who always wants the limelight and accolades for your work, anesthesiology is not for you. We anesthesiologists are satisfied knowing we do our jobs well every day and our patients leave the operating room safely without any drama. Instead of seeking all the attention, we just console ourselves with the fact that we make more money than our general surgeons

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