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.