Moments in surgery| Volume 137, ISSUE 1, P117-118, January 2005

We must have some heart operations

  • Harris B. Shumacker Jr.
    Reprint requests: Harris B. Shumacker, Jr, MD, 1000 Lowry Street, Delray Beach, FL 33483.
    Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Chairman Emeritus, Indiana University Medical Center and Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md, USA
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      I had hardly put my feet on the ground when my host asked, “When will you do a heart operation?” I was in Karachi in the early 1960s; my university had been delegated to establish a health center with the primary objective of training present and potentially future members of the medical faculty in teaching the basic sciences. Heaven knows, this was a much-needed project. Pathology, for example, was being taught by having students sit on hard benches hour after hour, listening to lectures and wandering through the pathologic museum in which untouchable, preserved, glass-covered specimens were displayed on shelves. Our mission was intended to involve no clinical subjects whatsoever, but they were determined; no heart operation had been performed in Pakistan, and they were going to have one, come hell or high water. It was the last thing that was needed; food and soap and water would have been far more appropriate!
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