5 Ways to Stay Cool Under Pressure
In surgery, you don’t have the luxury of wondering, What if this doesn’t work? It has to work. That’s why, the night before a big procedure, I run through the entire thing like a movie in my head. I also visualize what I’ll do in the event of major complications—which can make a huge difference. During a recent operation, my team encountered a problem when a hole opened in the vena cava, the largest vein in the body, during the removal of an attached tumor. It’s a terrifying situation: The person could bleed to death in minutes. But I had considered this possibility beforehand. So when the vein ruptured, I knew exactly what to do and quickly restored control. And I’m happy to report, the patient is doing fine.
Thomas Heffernan is a cancer surgeon in Dallas.