A ^Retired Plastic Surgeon's Notebook

A cancelled operation is like an empty airliner taking off.

blog empty airline

An empty airline is almost as sad and an empty operating room.

Yesterday I had to cancel a case.  This patient was having a tummy tuck and I do not do tummy tucks on smokers.  She showed up for her surgery and confessed that she indeed had not completely quit smoking but was only smoking about 5 cigarettes a day.  Even that relatively small amount of nicotine puts her at significant risk for major healing problems and also puts her at risks for anesthesia problems because of airway irritability and increased secretions.

Soooo……………………we canceled her surgery, much to her disappointment.  This lady had arranged for time off work, child care, a caregiver for herself etc.  I don’t blame her for being disappointed and I have to say that I was a little disappointed too.  I had assembled an anesthesiologist, two registered nurses and a surgical tech not to mention my operating room.   And there we were, ready to go with no patient.  Canceling a case is sort of like flying an empty airliner around.  Lots of overhead but no paying passengers.

I am grateful that this patient was honest with us about her smoking.  I would much rather have an empty airliner on my hands than a surgical complication.  We got her rescheduled for after the first of the year and this time, I think she will take the no smoking instructions more seriously.

Thanks for reading and please don’t smoke.  Sometimes it can just ruin a good case.                                                                                                                                                                                    Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder


Category: Patient Safety, This Makes Me Cranky., Tummy Tuck | Tags: , , , ,

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