Three Virtues For Guiding Surgical Practice
In this work, three virtues, proper pride, compassion, and practical wisdom, are assessed in their functionality for surgeons. It is technically possible to perform surgery without having virtues, but virtues allow for a surgeon and their patient to flourish. Proper pride is the knowledge of the extent of a surgeon’s skills and their ability to use their knowledge for the benefit of others. Proper pride is defined by Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, and the cases handled by John Hunter, the first modern surgeon, are examined. Compassion is cosuffering with a patient and making treatment plans that better the patient and their quality of life. Compassion is defined by Edmund Pellegrino, a physician and medical ethicist, and the work of Henry Marsh, a British neurosurgeon, is studied. Practical wisdom is the deliberation that leads to the best possible plan for the patient based on the knowledge, virtues, and experience of a surgeon. Practical wisdom is defined by Aristotle, and the experience of Atul Gawande, a general surgeon in Massachusetts, is analyzed. These three virtues provide the parameters that push a surgeon to take decisions that benefit their patient and better their relationship with their patient, causing both the surgeon and their patient to thrive.