Surgeons need to be at the top of their game whenever they cut into a patient. That’s why a responsible physician would never drink alcohol during the day they perform surgery. But what about the night before?
A new study demonstrates that surgeons perform more poorly after drinking the night before. In one phase of the study, the subjects were final-year medical students in Ireland who had no experience with the surgical simulator used for training. In the other phase, the subjects were six experienced surgeons at Yale. Both groups were tested before their evening of imbibing as well as the following day. The medical student group was also randomized to either consume alcohol with dinner or not to consume alcohol. Those who had consumed alcohol had a significant decrease in their surgical ability as measured by the virtual reality surgical training machine; this was also seen among the expert surgeons. The bottom line is, you don’t want your surgeon celebrating the night before your operation.
[Archives of Surgery, April, 2011]