Good Morning Doctor! - Chapter 27
As I continued to do more and more surgery in Waverly, I constantly came upon new operative problems and for that reason, I used up almost all of Waverly's stray cats and dogs. Whenever I had to do an operation I had never done before, I would try it out first on one of these animals.
This work went on in an old barn near the hospital. One of the Sisters assisted me as the anaesthetist. The system worked very well until one day, quite by accident, we got the town marshal's dog. Marshal's dog or no, I had by that time become intensely interested in intestinal operations, a field in which I have done considerable work since.
None of those dogs died in vain if from them I had learned enough to save only one human life, just one life. Perhaps it was that rosy-cheeked baby boy of fourteen weeks whose little bowels were telescoped, whose moans of pain became happy gurgles in the days after that operation, who in due time was able to enter kindergarten.
The more operations I performed the more I realized the truth of the remark that no two operations are alike; and yet no matter how they differ, no matter how much equipment there is to work with, or how much previous experience there is to fall back upon, the man behind the instruments is what counts. That is a very chastening realization, one which humbles a surgeon. In his hands he holds life and death. Has he so prepared himself that his judgment will be sound, that his hand will not slip, that he may take from death to give to life?