Good surgeons Versus Good Bedside Manner

Good surgeons versus good bedside manner.More than two decades ago, our regional hospital started an open heart surgery program.  The new heart surgeon had a stellar record and we all met with him as the program readied for its launch.

A common statement was circulated among the doctors:  “He’s a really nice guy.  I hope that means he’s not a bad surgeon.”

At the time, no explanation was needed.  We all knew that some of the greatest surgeons we met might be skilled in the operating room, but had really awful people skills. We also knew of some incredibly nice and personable surgeons who had terrible outcomes.

Yet, in the decades since, something changed:  A lot of good surgeons turned out to also have good bedside manners.  I can still think of a few where this is not true, yet there is undeniably a shift from the old stereotype.

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Steven Mussey MD

Steven Mussey, M.D. is a physician in Internal Medicine, practicing in the Fredericksburg area for more than twenty years. He grew up in Springfield, Virginia and earned a degree in Physics from The University of Virginia, Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his medical degree at The George Washington University and was inducted into the medical honor society AOA. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine. He served in the Air Force for four years before entering into private practice. He particularly enjoys geriatric medical care and working with complex patients. For almost a quarter century, he has been practicing with one other Internist. Both doctors enjoy practice in a small, but busy office, and plan on working into their 70s, as long as they can still find their way to the office. Dr. Mussey is also an avid cartoonist and has a weekly cartoon in the local newspaper. He also enjoys cartoon animation and has had several public service cartoons playing regularly on the television cable systems. 

  1 comment for “Good surgeons Versus Good Bedside Manner

  1. Rick
    October 6, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    In the last couple of years, I had some operations on my spine. Great fun.
    I appointed initially with the most reputable neurosurgeon in the city at the most reputable neuro practice in town. These people are huge deals. I was apprehensive as I expected arrogance, at least. But I was ready for worse.
    In comes the MOST wonderful guy in the world. Modest, nice, comfortable.
    Obviously way smart (MD, PhD), but way gracious. I was really put at ease.
    So yes, from my limited experience with the neurosurgeon and others, I think the tide is turning. It’s just a damn shame that for so long, we equated a repulsive personality with clinical excellence. Made NO sense anyway!

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