When I do not have an Answer

I am an extremely well educated Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  I have degrees with honor from The Johns Hopkins University and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons.  I have a quick mind and an excellent memory, along with 19 years in my private practice career.  Few Plastic Surgeons have ever done as much cosmetic plastic surgery as I have already done in a lifetime.  Good for me.

Despite all of these great credentials, I do not know everything.  There are clinical situations that I handle to the best of my ability, but I am not always correct.  No one is.  As much of an ego blow this can be, I have come to terms with it.  Patients, however, expect perfection.

What I have learned is that if I try my best, yet cannot figure out what to do next, I ask for help from another specialist.  It could be another Plastic Surgeon, or a different specialty, depending on the situation.  There is no shame in sending a patient for another opinion.  I think it shows the utmost respect for patient care.

Patients can be put off by this, and the fear is that they think you don’t know what you are doing.  I try to let them know that it is the exact opposite.  Admitting your limitations takes more courage, and is in the patient’s best interest.

This situation pops up once or twice in a long while, but keeps me grounded.  My only concern is the patient’s well being.  My ego can handle it.


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