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The day I decided surgery was for me…all rounds lead me to surgery.

Authors: Alejandro Tenorio Pacheco; General Practitioner; Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla; México; @AlejandrTenorio

I have always been interested in how bodies work. When I decided to enter medical school I knew that I would have the opportunity see inside a body, find the problem and hopefully solve it in the best way. All of that was going to be possible if I majored in surgery.

During the first months in medical school, I had my first experience of the dissection room, where anatomical dissections were performed, anatomy was studied, and suturing was practiced. For me, it was something incredible and that day I decided that surgery was for me.

As time went by, I acquired more knowledge; now practice was no longer on anatomical models but with real patients. This made me very excited, since I would finally be able to move from theory to practice. Upon entering the clinic, I was assigned to the ER and, fortunately for me, a patient arrived who needed the sutures that I had been practicing with so much effort and dedication. I wasted no time and asked my supervisor to perform the procedure, that day I decided that surgery was for me.

With little experience, but more confidence, I contacted a gastrointestinal surgeon who kindly gave me the opportunity to accompany him to several of his surgeries. Eventually, seeing my interest, he trusted me to be his first assistant. I remember that day very well, the sensation of putting on scrubs, performing the surgical hand washing, dressing in a sterile gown, putting on custom-made gloves, feeling the warmth of the light on my head and the cold of the operating room on my feet. Finally came the chance to perform skin closure, altogether, one of the best experiences I have ever had, that day I decided that surgery was for me.

Another memory, although not entirely pleasant, took place during my internship year. My brother presented with acute abdominal pain. On questioning him and performing a thorough examination, to be very honest, with extreme care not to forget anything, I made the diagnosis of a probable acute appendicitis. I took him to the ER for imaging studies to confirm it; at the same time, I contacted the surgeon, the same one who gave me the opportunity to learn in his operating room and who was now my friend, to perform the surgery. Upon arriving at the hospital, he went to the cubicle to check on my brother and told me: “congratulations, you have just made an excellent diagnosis. You will assist me in the surgery”. That day I decided that surgery was for me.

Now that I have graduated from medical school, my next step is to prepare myself to enter a surgical residency programme, because remembering all that I have learned through my career, I have come to the conclusion that every day I would decide to choose surgery.


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