Letter from Dr. Scott Arnold, President
Dear Fellow Muller-Jones Society Members,
We are at a crossroads in medicine. And no one feels this more acutely than surgeons trained in the Muller-Jones tradition. We find several paths coming together at this crossroads: medicine in general, surgery in particular, and our Muller-Jones society in specific.
We are in a Perfect Storm. The darkest clouds are over medicine in general. There is a confluence of increasing regulation and a culture of waning personal responsibility. We see electronic box-checking to meet rigid standards while forgetting the patient. We see a frightening trend toward decision by consensus (which by its nature is slower and often less definitive than a plan executed and owned by a singular mind). We have the specters of litigation and the pressure to generate “RVU’s” which decrease hands-on training culminating in a delayed medical adolescence.
Surgery in particular is affected by this Perfect Storm because there is no field in which personal responsibility and individual ability are more apparent. Ultimately, when the O.R. doors close ,there is one surgeon and his or her mind, training, and actual ability which stand between success and failure. There is no committee. There is no clock to punch, no relief team…just one surgeon and his or her skills.
With that in mind where do we find our MJSS? We represent the direct legacies of the greatest surgeons on the world; not by hundreds of years, but by just a few generations. But until recently we have felt no pressure to have a greater purpose than being principally a social group. Many surgical societies of the recent past have faded and ceased to exist. Our meetings have waxed and waned in attendance and purpose.
We have recently expanded our goals to include more active financial support of resident research, and this year we have stressed the educational format of the meeting. And I would argue that there is no more critical a time than now for the MJSS to rise and honor our heritage with new passion and purpose.
While we may not be able to fight the storm of mediocrity which is blowing over medicine in general, we can absolutely refuse to change what we and our surgical offspring represent: Work ethic, dedication to our patients and to each other, surgical scholarship, and a culture of personal responsibility and ability.
We must weather this storm and keep the heritage and culture of our ancestors alive.
I look forward to seeing you at the meeting where we can all work to forge our path forward.
W. Scott Arnold, President, Muller-Jones Surgical Society