chapter  43
The Search for Meaning in Surgery
Pages 2

Surgery is a highly charged and strenuous profession where life and death are frequently encountered under difficult circumstances. Patients are transported to a state of unconsciousness in the performance of the surgical act, and occasionally irreversibility of cure is a fact. Some patients may not return to their beds or for­ merly active lives. Within these circumstances, it is important that surgeons remain actively involved in finding meaning in their profession, in their lives, or as Frankl accurately put it:

We must never forget that we may also fin d meaning in life even when con­ fronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that can not be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement.1