In between the interventions, as the team inside OR 11 takes a few more moments to set up the next patient, Peter Vajkoczy makes a long phone call while leaning on one of the many devices and carts that are clustering the main corridor. Currently, he is organizing some larger event for the German Spine Society for which he is both the host and a keynote speaker. During one of these phone calls, he also finds a few moments to walk swiftly to a desk hidden in another room filled up with a whole park of surgical devices. He goes through emails as the colleague on the phone informs him about the current situation.
When he is not speaking or texting, the professor is dictating his latest operative report into a small recorder. One of the medical typists will later compose it to a written report in the hospital information system. Juggling the different devices while walking around the surgical facility, the chief is always in motion when he is not standing in a state of absolute tranquility at the operating table. In the in-between moment after surgery, as he walks out of the situation keeping his arms slightly spread and letting the body relax and unwind again, he has the gait of a tennis player going through a long game. He also finds a bit of time to joke with senior colleagues between the sets.
Surgical reports are to some extent standardized because the surgeries are. They are also legal documents. However, the surgeon’s personal style can give you valuable information about momentary challenges and strategies to meet them as they happened during the intervention. The report may highlight aspects deemed important (such as blood loss, status of the wound, results from intraoperative imaging control) and provide instructions for postoperative care. It also tells the patient’s story - from the surgical perspective.