Doctor’s Diary August 19, 2017: Good hands

(Snippets from the frontline)

Good hands

We know a tight end can catch a football.

How do you know a surgeon has similar hand-eye coordination?  Shouldn’t this quality be possessed by all surgeons?

Acceptance into surgical programs is based on grades and test scores.  But where and when in medical school and surgery residency are doctors screened for their dexterity and nimbleness?  Can these skills of adeptness be taught through practice and repetition?  Being in surgical training, I never saw anyone dismissed because of “bad hands.”

For some dental schools, a bar of soap has to be carved to show hand-eye coordination.  Is there any point where a surgeon needs to show agility by juggling scalpels?  I invite my surgical colleagues to weigh in on this question. 

Until then, next time you visit a surgeon, you might want to toss them a football and see if they make the reception.  You’ll then feel confident they won’t drop the ball.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.


  • Sevan Stepanian, MD says:

    This is a topic of discussion amongst surgeons. The most elite athletes, the absolute best in their respective sports, continue to be coached throughout their careers. Perhaps surgeons should continue to be coached.

    Robotic and laparoscopic surgery has given us the ability to record surgeries in HD. Services now exist that allow surgeons to upload videos and receive detailed feedback about technique from very respected surgeons from all over the nation. Some hospital systems are already requiring data obtained from such services for privileging. It’s an idea that is gaining traction.

  • Lakhbinder says:

    Catching a football is a primitive gross motor skill which requires no intellectual abilities but can get better with training. Surgery, on other hand is a learned fine motor skill with years of training and requires intellectual abilities to remove a deceased or repair a deformed organ and leave behind healthy tissue.

    I don’t think there is a need to throw a football at your surgeon but be sure to check their outcomes from other patient on whom he operated upon.

  • Gail says:

    I never gave this much thought or any thought at all. Thank you for opening my mind, even though I might feel a bit intimidated pressing the Dr. about dexterity. It is my health that is at stake. Thank you

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