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March 1979

Surgeon's Role in Patient Care

Arch Surg. 1979;114(3):347. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1979.01370270117032

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To the Editor.—As an internistgastroenterologist associated with two local community hospitals, I read Dr Ben Eiseman's editorial in the Archives (113:917-918, 1978) regarding usurpation of the surgeon's role in patient care with much interest but with considerably less sympathy.

Unfortunately, the "busy" surgeons in both the university-affiliated and the nonaffiliated hospital show little more than perfunctory interest in preoperative work-up and/or postoperative care. In the teaching hospital, these tasks are relegated to the harried surgical resident who seems to care little and is supervised even less. In the community hospital, the surgeon seems inclined to focus his attention on "major" (eg, surgical) problems and to minimize, if not ignore, ancillary disorders. Thus, postoperatively, when things go awry (usually at 2 am), he orders the intensive care nurse to "call the internist since it's a medical problem." Like most of my medical colleagues, I have a myriad of "case reports"

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