A pathologist's Mayo Stand. " Pass me the hack saw, nurse."
Delay of game is not limited to football. Action in the operating room can be subject to breaks in the action too. Waiting for a frozen section report to come back from the pathologist or a time out while the circulating nurse scrambled to flash sterilize an esoteric instrument that the surgeon just had to have were common interrupters of what had been feverish goal oriented action in the tiled temple.
I liked to busy myself with buffing surgical instruments until they shined in the overheads or wrestling with wiry twisted chromic suture in a vain attempt to get the kinks out during these postponements. Dr. Slambow did not like my heightened activity during these surgical layovers. One of his life lessons was to take a break whenever you have the opportunity, and as an oldster, I've put that lesson into practice way too many times.
As the intense intraoperative activity ground to a halt, he dropped his usually tense voice an octave or two as he admonished, " Take a break Fool, and rest those oversize lunch hooks of yours, I've got a little joke for you; In a perfect world the English would be police officers. The Germans would be engineers, and the French would be the cooks. In a more ghastly universe things would be different. The English would be cooks. The Germans would be law officers and the French would be engineers." Ha..Tee..Hee.
Every scrub nurse knows the obligation to laugh at the surgeon's jokes and make a comment about his clever wittiness, but my mind sometimes wandered and thought about what would happen if physicians other than surgeons performed surgery, just as the characters in his joke switched roles. Standing at my Mayo stand in a post joke moment, I came up with an off the wall idea that made the notion of German police officers sound like a good thing.
What if pathologists performed surgery? The instruments they would bring to the table are enough to shiver just about anyone's timbers. I had never heard of a #60 knife blade because it's exclusive to the morgue. This monster blade made a meat cleaver seem like small potatoes. It's the only scalpel blade I'm aware of that has an edge sharpened along it's entire length. This blade eschews attachment to an ordinary scalpel handle and prefers mating with an autopsy handle that resembles the throttle of a Harley Davidson Electra Glide. This sabre like snickersnee reduced cutting to it's most barbaric level. In surgery millimeters mattered. A pathologist's mindset was calibrated in meters. Monster incisions were OK in the morgue, but wouldn't make for a happy ending in the OR.
A pathologist is experienced with slicing through chilled skin that doesn't bleed. I wonder how the novel experience of dealing with those little bright red bursts erupting from the yellow subcutaneous fat would be dealt with. I wonder if a foul smelling liquid like formalin would cauterize a bleeder. There certainly is an abundance of that nasty stuff in a morgue, but surgery is no time for foolhardy experiments. I suspect they would have to learn how to use a Bovie like everyone else.
That's just about enough of my foolish ramblings. I don't want to even think about those giant hedge pruner implements found in a morgue would be used for. Pathologists are conditioned to simply cut structures out of the way to expose anatomy. Could they adapt to using retractors for accessing organs?
I pondered that last notion while sipping bean soup for my midday sustenance. Glancing down at my fasciculating fingers and realizing I forgot to take my Sinemet, the thought suddenly occurred to me. Dr. Slambow was right, I do have oversize lunch hooks for hands.