Welcome to the Sunday Surgical Scrub 2017 Year in Review! It’s been a fast-paced 12 months and I want to, first and foremost, thank everyone for their continued support and interest. I’m going to highlight some of the top posts, news and research findings from davidalmeidamd.com over the past year. Here we go…
TASK AT HAND: This year I covered a multitude of topics but these stand out. In March, I deliberated on the key differences between productivity and creativity. Productivity – how we think – can be thought of as the grammar or syntax of a sentence. Creativity – what we think – are the words, concepts and emotions in that sentence. I think of productivity as the order and arrangement of a composition whereas creativity is the unique melody. While productivity tends to have basis on ordered and logical processes, creativity can be borne out of entropy and randomness.
Creativity, in an unproductive individual, may emit a flash in the pan, but rarely creates enough light to sustain the night. At some point, creative findings need to be distilled into elements of capable comprehension. Seek a state of wholeness where both the synthesis and organization of new thoughts and ideas coexist. Find congruency in their relationship. Take time when you are pondering problems or reflecting on ramifications, and break down the elements of your decisions into the aspects of productivity (how you think) and creativity (what you think). This will give you valuable insight into the overall process. You will be surprised at your creativity, and you will appreciate the process for decoding it. You can find the original post here.
A concept that continues to require emphasis stems from the Stoic teaching of control. In October, we concluded that we are not in control! The illusion of control is a powerful mirage that commonly creates a façade we believe to be actually present. While the desire for control may be real, in actuality, control is an illusion that can impair our judgement and create anguish and anxiety that does not exist. How can we give up on the illusion of control? First, realize you are not in control. All you can control is your reaction to events. Second, since you are not in control, then to worry is pointless. You can find the post here.
Over the course of 2017, I discussed various logical fallacies and errors of bias on the Sunday Surgical Scrub. The ability to recognize bias is essential for survival. To be cognizant that we are strongly attracted to our own beliefs and that these biases, left unchecked, increase our vulnerability for errors needs to be constantly addressed. In February, we highlighted the trap of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias, also known as the confirmation trap, occurs when we procure data and information that aligns with our beliefs and ignore that which runs counter to our arguments. Bias in opinion is easier to detect and correct; however, confirmation bias – when we actively seek out information to back our preconceived beliefs – is dangerous. How do you avoid the confirmation trap? Be a cynic. Act like a doubter. Question as a skeptic. Question both the quality of the data and the validity of the source as a means to be on guard against this insidious type of erroneous logic.
In September, I extolled grit; a trait commonly alluded to while, at the same time, rarely well-defined or understood. Most people identify grit as a requisite trait for success and development yet few can define its crystalline qualities. Grit is unyielding courage in the face of hardship. Grit allows your character to carry on despite conflicts and confusion. Without grit, you risk being swallowed by the tides of misfortune and disaster. You can find the original post here.
Finally, in November, I summarized the two certainties in life: death and taxes. Remember, death is guaranteed. This is not simply for macabre effect. This is actually a wonderful liberation that we should use our talents and energy to effect genuine meaning in our lives and the those we come in contact with. The anxiety and worry surrounding most items is not necessary and often hinders our duty in the latter regard.
MEDICINE & MACULA: Earlier this year, I published a book entitled, Decision Diagnosis: Seven Antidotes to Decision Procrastination.
Big thanks for the interest and in making it an Amazon best seller in multiple categories and in multiple countries. Many sincere thanks! The paperback and kindle version can be found here.
CASE OF THE YEAR: I am grateful for another productive year that saw our research team publish numerous studies, case reports and surgical techniques. However, none garnered as much interest and attention as our case report, Deer Tick Masquerading as Pigmented Conjunctival Lesion (Robin K. Kuriakose, Lorna W. Grant, Eric K. Chin, David R.P. Almeida) published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports.
In it, we report a unique case of tick penetration of a black-legged deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) into the conjunctiva. Despite the low risk for Lyme disease, doxycycline was prescribed for prophylaxis.
In any case of suspected tick penetration to the ocular surface, immediate ophthalmologic consultation and prompt removal as well as attention paid to the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines regarding prophylaxis. You can find the study here.
Later in the year, this case was highlighted in a special mystery cases issue of New Retina MD entitled, The Adventure of the Upstate Traveler: A camper brings home an unintended souvenir from a camping trip (Robin Kuriakose, Lorna Grant, Eric Chin & David Almeida).
GRATIS: Lastly, I would be amiss if I did not look back on October 1st and the once in a lifetime chance to share the court with Mr Karim Abdel Gawad for a squash event hosted by Boast Squash here in MN.
Gawad is a professional squash player from Egypt who reached World No. 1 in May 2017. It was humbling and an honor to share the court with a fierce talent like Gawad. I had a blast and thankful to Gawad for having some fun with us amateurs!
Thanks for reading.
Happy new year and best wishes to you and your loved ones in 2018!