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March 16, 1994

The Learning Curve

Author Affiliations

Mason City Clinic Mason City, Iowa

JAMA. 1994;271(11):824. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510350032024

To the Editor.  —I read with interest the article entitled "The Learning Curve" by Dr Gaster.1 There are surgeons overwhelmed by new technologies. Nevertheless, "The Learning Curve" talks less about the process of gaining experience and more about advancing age and the inability of senior physicians to progress into the future. This is not the case and unfair. The content suggests more fiction than actual reporting of a knowledgeable observer and raises the question about the author's true intentions.The senior surgeon had completed a certifying course. The operation was not even his first laparoscopic cholecystectomy. As he struggled, he would have asked for some advice. He would not have used a scalpel to cut the cystic artery, knowing all too well that inadvertent stabbing could occur. An experienced surgeon would have selected scissors to perform the task, knowing that it is a safer instrument. If he was so

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