Surgeons should be more like pilots.
Surgeons need more rest. They should have work hours restrictions like pilots do.
You wouldn’t want to fly with a pilot who had been awake for 24 hours.
Blah, blah blah.
A while back I blogged [see links below] that surgeons really cannot be compared to pilots because, unlike the boring, monotonous work that pilots do, surgeons perform tasks that are highly variable, both mentally and technically. I even said that the only time pilots really have to work is when the plane is taking off or landing. I had no idea how right I was.
Now comes proof. An article from the Associated Press entitled “Automation in the air dulls pilot skill,” discusses some recent plane crashes and notes that pilots increasingly seem to be making poor decisions when confronted with emergencies. Flying a plane is becoming more automated and the pilots’ skills are eroding. New air traffic control mandates are calling for GPS positioning rather than the use of radar. This will allow more accurate knowledge of a plane’s true location enabling planes to descend faster and closer together, possibly leading to more challenges for pilots.
The following statement sums up the current state of affairs:
Even when not using the new procedures, airlines direct their pilots to switch on the autopilot about a minute and a half after takeoff when the plane reaches about 1,000 feet, [Bob] Coffman [member of the FAA pilot training committee and an airline captain] said. The autopilot generally doesn't come off until about a minute and a half before landing, he said.
Do you get it? With the rare exception of the malfunctioning autopilot, pilots are actually hands-on flying their airplanes for 3 minutes per flight.
There is no autopilot in the operating room. Machines can’t perform surgery. Even the robot has to be guided by a surgeon every second.
So please tell me how can you compare what a surgeon does to what a pilot does?
Here are my previous blogs on the subject:Surgeons Are Not Pilots or Long-Distance Truck Drivers