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Surgery a dying profession?

  1. Mar 2, 2010 #1
    I been reading some books on medical aid and surgery and it made me consider greatly to take medical school as a profession. Now, a friend of mine is already in one and claims that surgery is a dying profession. He stated that by the end I finish my education, it will be completely gone, replaced by biotechnology and machines. I am a senior in high school, right now, to give you an idea of the rest of years of education I would have to go through.

    Could I have your opinions on his claim?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2010 #2

    Borek

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    Yes.

    Don't listen to your friend.

    Thank you for your time.
     
  4. Mar 2, 2010 #3
    Second to Borek: your friend is most definitely wrong.
     
  5. Mar 2, 2010 #4
    I'm around your age and have had an obsession with surgery since childhood. Surgery is far from a dying profession, in fact it's the complete opposite. We're able to do more than ever before, and with extreme accuracy, the only thing changing is how it's performed. The days of blindly groping around in a body will be long gone, so your mental image of the future surgeon shouldn't be one hovering over his patient drenched in blood while wielding a scalpel, but rather one seated at a console, remotely-controlling the robotic arms that perform the actual surgery, operating through the tiniest of incisions. The innovation in robot-assisted surgery is amazing and is sure to be a large part of most operations by the time people our age would finish training. However, the technology is extremely expensive as of now, and not many hospitals have the resources to maintain it. The daVinci robot has already performed (controlled by the surgeon) countless surgeries from beginning to end. Surgery has always been about using the right tools for the job, and robotics is the next step.

    Your friend's idea of completely autonomous machines performing surgeries without need for oversight of a trained surgeon is a very long ways off, certainly longer than your own lifespan. We are just beginning to introduce surgeon-controlled robotic systems and even those aren't close to perfected yet.
     
  6. Mar 2, 2010 #5
    Machines will NEVER replace the critical thinking of man.
     
  7. Mar 2, 2010 #6

    Hurkyl

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    Except when they do.
     
  8. Mar 2, 2010 #7

    mgb_phys

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    Assuming the man has a sufficiently tough union.
    The Royal College of Surgeons is one of the toughest
     
  9. Mar 2, 2010 #8
    When machines become intelligent enough to do surgery on their own without human supervision, not being able to earn your daily bread will be the least of your problems.
     
  10. Mar 2, 2010 #9
    Having been around computers as much as I do, and knowing how buggy they can be, I really *want* to make sure that if someone cuts me open, that a human being is holding the knife.
     
  11. Mar 2, 2010 #10

    mgb_phys

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    Having been around computers as much as I do, and knowing how buggy USERS can be be - I definitely want something with failsafes operating on me!


    A human surgeon is like a stone age flint knapper compared to a CNC machine.
     
  12. Mar 2, 2010 #11
    I couldn't possibly have said this better myself...
     
  13. Mar 2, 2010 #12
    Not to mention, the human being is already wired for empathy; the computer has to be programmed.
     
  14. Mar 2, 2010 #13
    The computer also has to be programmed to learn to forget surgical instruments inside patient's belly.
     
  15. Mar 2, 2010 #14
    Very witty... And quite the rebuttal.
     
  16. Mar 2, 2010 #15

    mgb_phys

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    Worse still is an off by one error, if the computer thought you had -1 instruments left; it would open you up again to insert one!
     
  17. Mar 2, 2010 #16

    Hans de Vries

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    "Your computerized surgeon is now shutting down in order to install a Microsoft security update...." :eek:

    Regards, Hans
     
  18. Mar 3, 2010 #17

    Borek

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    It just occured to me that the main difference between computers and users is that computers repeat the same errors again and again, just faster with each generation. People are much more creative.
     
  19. Mar 3, 2010 #18
    Which is why we must protect John Connor.
     
  20. Mar 4, 2010 #19
    The surgeons I've encountered (though they did the surgery well) were not wired for empathy. My understanding is that the empathy comes from the nurses on the post-op ward.
     
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