In ophthalmology clinic:
Ophthalmologist (who specialises in oculoplastics, particularly in cataract removal): Well Mr. Brown, I see you’ve been referred for cataract removal. But I really don’t want to remove these. They’re quite small. I don’t see why I should remove them.
Patient: Oh, well I also have double vision. Can you do anything about that? I’m not too sure what’s happening.
Ophthalmologist: …………..Well you see, I’m the cataract guy. So I have no idea what’s causing your double vision. You should really ask someone else about that.
Patient: Oh. Well my doctor said that if he wants to fix my double vision, my cataracts need to be removed?
Ophthalmologist: *Unimpressed look* Let me go discuss with my colleague
*disappears for 20minutes* *Patient’s wife stares at surgery consent form half filled out*
Ophthalmologist: Mr. Brown I’ve just talked to my colleague and he’s explained the practical aspects of doing the cataract surgery now! If I remove them, you’ll be able to have prisms placed on your glasses to fix your double vision it seems!
Ophthalmologist: Well we can do the surgery then!
Student: Mr. Jones also had a maculopathy in addition to his cataract. Could you tell me what caused it and how we would fix it?
Ophthalmologist: I didn’t notice his maculopathy. I’m going to remove his cataract so his macula doesn’t concern me at all. Someone else can fix that for him. I don’t know what’s going on there.
Really? I mean, REALLY?
I’ve seen and heard that if you specialise, you acquire a kind of tunnel vision whereby you forget all the other aspects of medicine (eg: an orthopaedic surgeon wouldn’t know much about a patients’ gastrointestinal diseases). That’s reasonable. Acceptable almost.
But this, is pushing it. You can be specialised. But you shouldn’t be so specialised within your OWN specialty such that you no longer care about anything other than that one type of surgery you’re equipped to do, surely.
I just found this consultants’ attitude a bit shocking. What if he was in surgery and a patient has a cardiac arrest in the middle of the procedure. Would he be like “It’s okay! I’ve got the cataract out. Someone else deal with his heart please.” Eugh.
Let’s hope I don’t become so one-body-part focused.