Inequality in Surgery

“The worse form of inequality is to try and make unequal things equal…”


All general surgery trainees remember the excitement of being allowed to perform their first bowel anastomosis. This is a big step, usually undertaken with the help with a relatively kind mentor. Often performed during a right hemi-colectomy, there is the age old dilemma of the large bowel being wider than the small bowel. The classic solution shown to trainees is the Cheatle slit. I was very excited and misheard it as the Cheaters slit, which seemed to make sense to me. I only discovered my error years later during a Fellowship Exam. Embarrassingly, I was an examiner at the time. Sir George Cheatle described the technique in the late 19th Century. Cheatle is mainly remembered as a great of early British breast surgery, but he obviously was pretty handy in the abdomen as well. Like so many suturing techniques is surgery, it was borrowed from tailoring, as a method to make the shoulder seam of a suit sit just so. #cleverbreastsurgeon #letsmakelemonade

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