April 13 2005, 1:22 pm PT | Posted in: Other
Received this email yesterday…
Why would someone who has been in Cardiac, Orthopedic and General Surgery be doing Hair Transplants? Did you fail at these other fields?
I would start off saying that I was very successful in every field I have been in. Part of the reason that I moved around a great deal was general boredom or lack of stimulus. In the hair restoration field, I have had the opportunity to become intimate with my patients. I have had similar intimacy with my patients when I treated their cancer, but the involvement with them was make the best out of a bad situation. If they survived the cancer, they wanted to forget it and I was more part of that period of their life (where forgetfulness is part of the denial process).
In hair restoration, the entire process up-scales as it progresses. The further down the path you take it, the more the intimacy and the pure pleasure you get with each milestone the patient achieves. First, getting to establish rapport is a challenge. Two people getting together, one with a problem and the other with a potential solution. The prospective client wants to determine: “Can I trust this doctor to do what it is he says he can do?” Once the relationship is cemented in place, you plan together what you are going to do. You share his/her intimate thoughts and fears and guide him/her though the plan like an architect experiences when he/she shows the plans for a new house to a home buyer/builder. This is a wonderful experience that for me only gets better as I deliver what it is I promise to deliver. While waiting out the growing stage, like a find lawn and garden, it takes time for the brown dirt to turn green and for the flowers to bud and bloom. But when the hair comes in, wow, what a HIGH it is for the doctor and patient to share.
I have been in the unique position of having done some of the most difficult surgeries on the human body. Early in my career, being able to perform them competently was my goal. The intimacy part of the process in the world of difficult surgery does not have the same significance with it as in the hair restoration business. The general surgery focused for me on issues of technical competence in the first half dozen years. Once I had proved to myself that I could perform almost all of the difficult surgery before me and treat the sickest of patients, the process becomes a matter or routine. Every sick patient in Intensive Care is so sick that they are as far from their normal selves as they could be. Aortic Aneurisms are the same. The ones that are acutely life saving (like those that are rupturing) brings up the adrenaline in the surgeon. Like a ride on a roller coaster, the feeling is frightening and wonderful, both at the same time. But the anxiety of holding a human life in your hands, no matter how exciting, still produces bad outcomes and brings heart break to surgeon and families. Half of all ruptured aortic aneurism patients die within a day of the event, even in the hands of the greatest surgeons. Hair, on the other hand, is almost a complete opposite experience for the surgeon. The results almost always come out the way a good surgeons predicts that they should. The key to success, like aortic aneurism surgery, is skill and in building a good surgical team. The hair restoration business is no different on this technical end where skill and team building is critical, but the patient is always awake and he/she is coming to see the doctor because he/she wants to be there (not has to be there like a ruptured aneurism). My days in the office make me feel that I have great value to people and because of the trust that is built, I have looked at many of my patients as friends for life.