Many Drops Make a Lake



Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA, 02114 USA.


The desire and drive for excellence in any endeavor in life requires an effort from the individual; in addition it requires a constellation of features around such individuals that help them to become successful. For surgeons, it is the operating room staff, the administrative and medical assistants and our residents and fellows. However, perhaps the most important contribution to a physician’s success, are his or her patients.
 As I get older, I find myself doing and saying things that seemingly, just a few years ago I used to hear my own teachers say and do. And then with some wry amusement, I wonder...when did this change happen in me? Change is inevitable, progressive and relentless. However, what remains constant is the compassion and care that our patients need and deserve. In this day and age of advancing technology and minimally invasive surgery, sometimes we surgeons forget that our patients are human beings. Our patients are the ones who teach us the most. It is therefore incumbent upon us to treat them with the greatest amount of dignity and respect that is possible.
Sir Isaac Newton had said “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. My fervent advice to all my trainees is to recognize and acknowledge their own personal giants early and often, for it is their shoulders upon which they will stand to see further. First and foremost among my personal giants are my patients, and then my parents, my teachers, my wife and children. It is they who have collectively helped me to achieve my personal goals.
 It is imperative that as clinicians and scientists we strive for excellence, and also continuously remember to be humble. Drs. Ebrahimzadeh, Kachooei and their team embody this very principle. Their efforts in getting this journal organized and come to fruition are enormous. Yet, it is the result of a collective effort to achieve excellence for the ongoing care of our patients; the desire to achieve greater knowledge, better skills and disseminate this knowledge through this journal to influence as many physicians and their patients as possible. They have taken the knowledge of their teachers, recognized their giants and are now poised to see further than ever before.
My grandmother often used to quote to me a proverb from India, which when translated literally means “Many drops make a lake”. I cannot help but be amazed by the striking similarities between the words of Newton and this Indian saying. Therefore, while it may seem intuitive, I think it must be stated that it is vital for the betterment of all our patients that we recognize our own personal lakes to put our drops of knowledge into. More important is that we recognize that it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to contribute to our collective lakes of knowledge such as ABJS. And finally and perhaps most importantly we need to be utterly cognizant of never letting such lakes of knowledge run dry.... ever.