Is Your Surgeon Impaired?

Ever wonder if your surgeon had “a few too many” the night before your surgery? He or she may look perfectly sober, but it turns out that if your surgeon had alcohol at dinner the evening before to the point of feeling drunk, then your surgery might just not go as well as possible.

Ever wonder if your surgeon had “a few too many” the night before your surgery? He or she may look perfectly sober, but it turns out that if your surgeon had alcohol at dinner the evening before to the point of feeling drunk, then your surgery might just not go as well as possible.

In the Archives of Surgery, a paper was just published that looked at the technical skills of surgeons the morning after a bender. A dinner with 10-26 drinks of alcohol, even followed by a good night’s sleep, was enough to impair the surgeons the next day. Despite the fact that your surgeon might not have alcohol on his or her breath, and even with a normal breathalyzer test, more errors would be expected in the operating room.


Amazingly, when surgeons performed tasks at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and even 4 p.m. the day after drinking, they were still impaired! Alcohol doesn’t have the short-term effects that many people think it has. Brain and liver function are altered for many hours, even days, after drinking heavily.

What do you do if you’re being operated on tomorrow and there’s your surgeon 2 tables away, polishing off the better part of a bottle of Dom Perignon? It certainly puts you in a sticky position, and I’m not sure what the answer is. The medical profession needs to heed this new information and discourage the use of alcohol on days prior to surgery.  

My advice is for surgeons to not have alcohol the evening before surgery – that advice probably extends to others with jobs that require acute thinking and precise motions, like airplane pilots and machine operators.  

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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