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Article
November 16, 1994

Surgical Scripts: Master Surgeons Think Aloud About 43 Common Surgical Problems

Author Affiliations

State University of New York at Stony Brook

 

by Charles M. Abernathy and Robert M. Hamin, 194 pp, paper, $19.95, ISBN 1-56053-119-3, Philadelphia, Pa, Hanley & Belfus Inc, 1994.

JAMA. 1994;272(19):1553. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520190099049

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Abstract

Problem solving and problem correction or amelioration are what a surgeon does. This book is about how a surgeon thinks when presented with a specific problem. Learning has a nonmeasurable end point and is a continuum throughout the surgeon's active life and experience. Commencing with medical school and progressing through residency and other postgraduate training, the surgeon acquires a tremendous mass of information. Judgment, however, demands not only textbook knowledge but repeated exposure to similar situations with memory of what did and did not work. As pointed out in this book, "efficient knowledge aggregation is developed through repeated experience" and "this fact makes organization of knowledge pragmatic."

The authors' intention is to demonstrate how experienced clinical surgeons use pattern recognition in decision making, supplemented by comments from a trained cognitive psychologist on the surgeons' expressed thoughts. The material is presented using 43 surgical scripts encompassing a wide variety of problems

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