General — TransplantLyfe


Assertive surgeons

Transplant Patient
August 27, 2022 in General

Appreciating a Confident Surgeon

This week I underwent hip replacement surgery at Columbia Presbyterian hospital, a place I trust and have come to love despite the fact that each time I used to go there, it was for a medical reason. Recently, it has also become a place of business since we work with the transplant clinic in putting on educational seminars for patients, care partners and donors and also run two clinical trials with medical scientists there.

However, on Tuesday, I was there for my hip. As I was waiting in pre-op with my sister, Lisa, I started to panic… what if I don’t wake up, what if I can never walk again, what if I bleed out on the table etc etc. Running through my head were all the scenarios that are unlikely, but possible, according to statistics. Remember, statistics convey how many individuals out of 100 will face some side effect, but for each person afflicted with that issue, it 100 percent affects that person.

My blood pressure started to increase, so did my heart rate and for a moment I thought of just quitting and stumbling out of there - in pain but at least still alive!

Five minutes later, my surgeon walked in, wearing his scrubs, with his mask and cap on. Really I could only see his eyes, yet I sensed his presence immediately. He exuded confidence and experience. He didn’t say much, but in those few minutes, I was totally back onboard to go for the surgery and I trusted him completely.

So what was it that he did? He made sure to communicate clearly and assuredly what was going to happen, with a tone of voice that did not hesitate. I knew that he had done this very procedure numerous times before and he had considered all alternatives that could happen. He said, “You will be back on the tennis court in no time and as soon as we are inside the OR, I have all the gadgets and tools I need to address any complications - don’t worry”. Then he drew his initials “JAG” on my right hip with a quick stroke and I was ready to go with him anywhere he wanted to take me!

He gave me confidence in my own body as he spoke to me, and I could finally imagine returning to the teenage me who played tennis 3-4 hours daily and running 10k afterwards! I was ready for the match, so to say, and that was thanks to Dr. Geller. 

This experience shows me how important it is to present yourself honestly in a situation, as well as it is to be prepared. No outcome is guaranteed yet perception often becomes reality!


1 - 7 of 7 Replies

  • CatsMeow60Other

    I appreciate confidence in a doctor as it is their hands that are the greatest tool. I'm glad you had a good experience.

    August 27, 2022
  • KarinExpert
    Transplant Patient

    My point is that there really is no other way since if we doubt our surgeon we walk into the procedure hesitant and reluctant… so most work has to be done prior to pre op - assessing the dr and his/her team…

    August 27, 2022
  • MelsammTransplant Patient

    I unfortunately/fortunately met my TP surgeon the day of my surgery. The Dr. I loved was going off, so you have to have the one coming on. I had a very good experience I was in good hands he is awesome. I hate that we only spend 6 months with them it is a short time my TP team will forever be in my heart.💚

    August 27, 2022
  • Bagman12256Transplant Patient

    This is the most important issue for the mental state of the patient. After dealing with my nephrologist for 18 years prior to my TP I had full confidence in the team at Columbia. I had met my surgeon once prior to the TP so I knew I was in good hands. Calming your mind is very important in proceeding through a very challenging time. The patient has no control over the outcome of the surgery so confidence in the team is everything.

    August 28, 2022
  • MelsammTransplant Patient

    My journey w/LT was fast so I did not have a lot of time to think. Yes totally agree with you, “confidence”.

    My first 2 livers we’re a no, and that is another thing they don’t prepare u for but again my LT surgeon was amazing to me explaining why it was a no go. Five days later it was a go.

    so grateful every day.💚💚

    August 28, 2022
  • ShelbycreatesTransplant Patient

    @Karin I'm so glad you were able to calm yourself. Your confidence in your surgeon is what created your calm, not the surgeon--you were the source of the calm (because of what you believed about the surgeon). I like to think about it that way, because it gives me back the power. And of course you were panicking! You've been through so much medically. Anyone who had your background would feel the same way. It's normal, even if it doesn't feel good.

    I also used to really freak out about the statistics. What I found out though, was that there are so many factors that can't take into account all of the aspects of what make up me in those studies. They aren't doing the studies on 100 patients exactly like me. So while they can help inform my decisions, they don't determine my situation.

    Sending all my best to you in your recovery!!

    August 29, 2022
  • AliEm14Expert
    Transplant Patient

    My best surgical experience (not even transplant related) my surgeon walked into the room, and before anything even started we had a moment of connecting. She assured me everything was going to be fine, that she would take care of me, and we spent a moment just connecting as humans. When we talked about my family, when she told me her name (and not just Dr. So and so) that made me feel really secure. You can be a brilliant surgeon, but at the end of the day I like knowing my doctors also care about me as a person and I’m not just a patient number to them

    August 29, 2022
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