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Doctors as theater artists April 4, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in America, image, india, science.

This picture from the article here might or might not be end up causing an outrage. Its about “the doctor plays hangman while waiting for test results during surgery” as the Times says.


Except the doctor in this case is Atul Gawande. Atul is a Rhodes Scholar, MacArthur Grant awardee and one of the famous doctors in America. He teaches at Harvard and was an adviser to President Clinton on American health policies. So for Atul, maybe, they will let go. If you are a doctor somewhere and haven’t read his essays – “Complications” – I am told, you are missing something. I have read one of his essays from this book. Very engaging indeed. Should be more so for doctors.

By the way, I wonder why they call it the operation theater. We commonly associate theaters with performances people pay money to watch. But I am told that surgery is lot about personal touch and there is some art in there. I should know, an intern messed up a stitch on my left eyebrow about 20 years ago and that now goes into official forms when I am asked for “identification symbols” or so. Some people have their own way of leaving a mark on their profession 😀

If I were a doctor and were asked what I do for a living, I would occasionally insist I am a theater artist. ( Albeit not a popular one, since all my art is about ensuring people don’t ask for an encore. 🙂 ) But just to see their reaction, its worth trying once in a while. Ofcourse if they ask me to act out something, I would have to ask them to lay down on the nearest table.

The article itself is about “Music in the Operating Room”. On the lighter side, with more and more Indian doctors in the United States, Anu Malik and co. might find themselves being listened to in unexpected places – American operation rooms. 😉 Bah-lee-vud is truly going global eh :p

That picture is courtesy Erik Jacobs for the Times.



1. Longevity Science - April 28, 2007

Thank you for your interesting post!
I thought perhaps you may find this related post about new article by Atul Gawande interesting to you:
Longevity Science: The Way We Age

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