Pan Hua and Hayato Ueda both left the operating theater one after another a few minutes before the surgery ended.
The two of them staggered a little as they left the operating theater.
They had witnessed the skills of some of the top doctors in Asia from the hospitals of Japan. Exchange of ideas also occurred rather frequently between Keio University Hospital and top hospitals such as Juntendo University Hospital and the University of Tokyo Hospital. Moreover, they often increased their own knowledge by watching all kinds of medical videos.
Yet, they could not disparage Ling Ran's skills because of all that.
Even if they were to judge his skills with an extremely critical eye, it was hard for them to find any inadequacies in the way he performed his surgery.
Of course, if they forcibly nitpicked Ling Ran's performance, they would be able to point out a few inadequacies. But what was the point of judging a medical intern from Yun Hua Hospital using the highest benchmark? And what was the point of judging him based on mistakes that happened due to chance?
Instead of talking about Ling Ran's inadequacies, they would much rather talk about how Ling Ran performed too well in certain aspects, so well that other aspects did not seem as perfect in comparison.
He was very good in suturing, very good in making the right judgments at the right time, very good in choosing the location of his incisions, and very good in performing perineurium anastomosis… When Pan Hua recalled the last scene he saw, he could not help but shudder.
It was not because of fear, but because he felt good about it.
When he saw Ling Ran, a fellow doctor, join every single strand of the patient's perineurium together, he felt even better than when he drank two bottles of chilled Coca-Cola during the summer.
Pan Hua only knew how to perform epineurium anastomosis, and that was already good enough. However, patients would require a longer period for recovery, nerve fibres would often connect wrongly during regeneration, the patients' hand function would seem weaker upon recovery, and their grades when it came to motor function tests were lower. But despite that, there were usually not a lot of differences between patients who received epineurium anastomosis and those who received perineurium anastomosis.
The keyword being, "usually".
When Pan Hua saw how skillful Ling Ran was when he sutured the patient's perineurium, he knew that there would be a very big difference in the outcome of an epineurium anastomosis and Ling Ran's perineurium anastomosis.
As for Hayato Ueda, he was a beginner in the M-Tang technique and did not know how to carry out nerve anastomosis at all. He could only break the silence with a whisper, "Looks like it's true that he carries out more than eight surgeries a day."
"Yes, every day." Pan Hua chuckled.
When he recalled all the prior suppositions he had, he found all of them rather laughable. After he saw Ling Ran's performance, he no longer found the feat of carrying out eight surgeries a day extraordinary anymore.
Or rather, the fact that Ling Ran performed surgeries at such a high frequency made it pretty much easier for Pan Hua to forgive himself. 'It isn't odd for an extraordinarily hardworking person to have extraordinary skills. Besides, since Ling Ran is so extraordinarily hardworking, he may not be very talented. If I were to carry out so many surgeries, it might still be possible for me to catch up with him. I haven't performed so many surgeries because I don't have enough time and energy. Wait, why do I have to catch up with him? I'm a department associate director who just returned from in-service training in Japan. I'm a man who's waiting for his chance to shine, a hand surgeon who's about to gain overnight fame…'
Pan Hua shook his head, firmly stopping his thoughts from wandering. He took out his mobile phone, opened the text message he received before, and said, "Ling Ran's carried out almost five hundred surgeries using the M-Tang technique. Even though it's a little more than we expected, it isn't to the point that it's shocking."
When Hayato Ueda heard that Ling Ran had performed almost five hundred surgeries using the M-Tang technique, his furrowed eyebrows relaxed a little. "If one can reach Ling Ran's level after carrying out five hundred surgeries using the M-Tang technique, I can do it too."
When Pan Hua was reminded of that, he chuckled.
Compared to him, Ling Ran had indeed carried out more surgeries using the M-Tang technique. But throughout his life, Pan Hua had carried out surgeries using other techniques too. Moreover, he had already performed three hundred plus surgeries using the M-Tang technique, and was not that far from hitting five hundred.
So, could he reach Ling Ran's level when he hit the five hundred mark?
It would be very hard… No… He was afraid that it would be totally impossible.
Pan Hua still knew his limitations. The more skilled you were, the harder it would be to elevate your skills. It was just like mountain climbing. It was very easy to climb a thousand meters or even two thousand meters upwards. The absolute altitude of Mount Tai was only one thousand and five hundred meters. Any ordinary person with a normal body could climb Mount Tai within a day. The only contrast between different people was the level of fatigue they experienced.
What if someone wanted to climb a little higher though? Other than fatigue, he would have to face other problems such as the cold, which came with the altitude, and hypoxia.
Therefore, if Ling Ran was climbing that hypothetical mountain right now, where would he be?
When Pan Hua thought about it, he felt uncomfortable.
"When you go back, don't talk about Ling Ran and the surgery he performed," Pan Hua suddenly said.
"Hm?" Hayato Ueda was puzzled.
"We're from the Hand Surgery Department." Pan Hua shrugged and pulled himself together again. "The matters of the Emergency Department have nothing to do with us," he said softly.
"Oh, all right." All kinds of thoughts appeared in Hayato Ueda's mind. The internal conflict in Japan's university hospitals were more complicated compared to the ones in Chinese hospitals. He could get used to the situation in Yun Hua Hospital very easily.
"Patients who come to the hospital for a hand injury would definitely give preference to the Hand Surgery Department. Only those who require emergency surgeries and those transferred from other hospitals would be sent to the Emergency Department. We don't have to care about them. We can't even finish treating our outpatients." Pan Hua analyzed the situation for Hayato Ueda while he encouraging himself at the same time. He puffed out his chest and said with a smile, "We have to be confident. We're professional orthopaedists, and the knowledge we've accumulated will multiply non-stop together with our experience. Surgeons like Ling Ran who only know how to carry out one type of surgery will slowly become mediocre.
Hayato Ueda knew what Pan Hua meant. He chuckled and said, "Just like the special patient before this?"
He was referring to President Han.
Pan Hua nodded slightly and continued, "You're right. From what I remember, hospitals in Japan care the most about their special patients, right?"
"Of course, because patients with special needs bring a lot of benefits with them."
"So, we just need to seize the special patients." Even though Pan Hua used the pronoun "we", what he actually meant was "me". He smiled slightly and said, "All the special patients who come in through the hospital or the department will definitely be sent to the Hand Surgery Department. There's no reason for patients with hand injuries to be sent to the Emergency Department. We can also build up our reputation and accumulate fame by treating special patients. Then, there'll naturally be more patients coming to us. Ling Ran… Ling Ran's surgical performance won't affect us."
"You're right." Hayato Ueda was not interested in the struggles within Chinese hospitals. However, his curiosity was peaked again. "Since Ling Ran's a newcomer, he must be very young, right?"
Pan Hua hummed in agreement and said, "He's about twenty-two or twenty-three years old."
"He's more than ten years younger than me." Hayato Ueda scratched the stubble under his chin. He could not help but tremble when he recalled how Ling Ran had his sweat wiped off. "I spent all day studying in school when I was his age. I don't even know what fame as a doctor is like.
"Ling Ran still won't get to experience it ten years later, and by that time, we'll already be top-notch hand surgeons," said Pan Hua. That was the aim he was working towards too.
He was a determined man.
If it were not for his determination, he would not have been able to stand out in the field of hand surgery and become the associate professor in one of Yun Hua Hospital's elite departments.
Pan Hua would just pretend that he had not witnessed Ling Ran's surgical skills.
He would continue to arrange surgeries for himself every day, and try to carry out as many of them as possible. He would do four surgeries a day… No, four surgeries a day was too much, but if he could ensure that he performed three surgeries every day, even the people in the Hand Surgery Department would praise him for being hardworking.
"Our department associate director has amazing surgical skills. I can't reach his level no matter how hard I try." Young Tie often acted as Pan Hua's assistant. Sometimes, Pan Hua only carried out the most important steps in a surgery and left the rest to Young Tie. That led to Young Tie becoming more and more familiar with the M-Tang technique.
Young Tie, of course, was always able to please other people with his words.
Every time that happened, Pan Hua would flash a humble smile. "Don't flatter me. You could even be better than me when you reach my age."
"It's impossible. I know just by looking at your hands. It's a good thing you didn't learn how to play the piano. Or else, you would've become a world-class musician instead of a world-class doctor.
"Young Tie, you're such a sweet talker." Pan Hua laughed out loud, and the gloominess he had been feeling for the past few days disappeared without a trace.
"Department Associate Director Pan, your hands are indeed beautiful. The moment other people see your hands, they'll ask you whether you're a pianist or a doctor." The scrub nurse working with Department Associate Director Pan that day was older in age, and she was not stingy with her praises.
Her words made Pan Hua extremely happy. He flung away the used piece of gauze and picked up a new one with a pair of forceps before he dipped it into the antiseptic solution. He then said with a smile, "This is something I always say: confidence is the most important thing for doctors, especially surgeons. Our reasons for some of the decisions that we make are too complicated to be clearly explained in a few words, and we're always racing against time when performing surgeries. This is why we can only make decisions on our own and bear the consequences alone. It would not be possible without confidence. Therefore, confidence is the most important attribute for a surgeon to possess."
Young Tie said with a myriad of emotions surging in him, "You're right. When I watch you during surgeries, I can feel the extreme decisiveness in your movements. Sometimes, when I talk to other doctors, I'd tell them about how if we were as firm as Department Associate Director Pan in making decisions, our patients' prognosis would be better even if our skills remain terrible."
"That's the way. You should be confident in yourself," Pan Hua said in an extremely serious tone. "Confidence is a surgeon's greatest wealth."
When Pan Hua said those words, a figure seemed to appear in his mind. He immediately shook his head to get rid of it.
Pan Hua's mobile phone started to vibrate.
"I'll leave the rest to you." It was by pure coincidence that Pan Hua had reached the tail end of his surgery. He carefully checked the stitches. When he saw that there was no problem, he took off his glasses and his scrubs.
Young Tie hummed in acknowledgement and skilfully carried on with the surgery. Even though his skills were slightly inadequate when it came to carrying out an entire surgery using the M-Tang technique, Pan Hua could let him finish up the surgery without worry.
Not long after that, Young Tie's mobile phone started to ring too.
Young Tie asked a nurse next to the operating table to fish out his mobile phone from his pocket. The moment he looked at the screen, he quickly gestured the nurse to answer the call. He inched his face close to the mobile phone and asked in a soft voice, "Department Associate Director Pan?"
"Are you done with the surgery?"
"Almost, I'll be done in a few minutes…"
"Come to the balcony when you're done."
"Ah… oh." Young Tie felt unsettled. He asked the nurse by the operating table to put his mobile phone back into his pocket and said, "Miss Li, can you do me a favor? See if there's any doctor outside. Ask him to come over and help."
Young Tie was done with closing the incision a few minutes later. He handed the patient to another doctor and exited the operating theater. He rushed straight to the balcony without bothering to take the elevator.
The balcony was not windy, and Young Tie could smell smoke. It was the Jiu Wu Zhi Zun cigarettes that Pan Hua often smoked.
When he approached Pan Hua, he saw that the floor tile next to Pan Hua's feet was already littered with cigarette butts.
"Department Associate Director Pan, what's going on?" Young Tie felt his blood run cold. 'Something major must have happened!'
"My…" Department Associate Director Pan's voice was hoarse from the cigarette smoke. He coughed a few times before he said, "Someone chopped off my brother-in-law's hand. His right hand is badly wounded, and he's being sent to the hospital now."
"What? Who did it?" Young Tie knew that Department Associate Director Pan often stayed in his brother-in-law's place whenever he was chased out by his wife, and his relationship with his brother-in-law was extremely good. He immediately shared Pan Hua's hatred towards the culprit.
Department Associate Director Pan extinguished the cigarette in his hand and said, "It was a debt-related dispute. The culprit has already been captured. The most important thing now is to save his hand first."
"Yes, we should do that. Your thought processes are so clear."
Department Associate Director Pan's mind was filled with his older sister's cries. He shook his head again and said, "The incident happened at a construction site in Tiger Leaping Gorge. He'll be here in two hours tops…"
"Don't worry, I'll immediately arrange an operating theater for him." Young Tie slapped his chest again.
However, Department Associate Director Pan went silent.
Young Tie looked at him, feeling puzzled.
After a long while, Department Associate Director Pan said, "Young Tie, how have I treated you?"
That was the standard line one would recite when one wanted someone else to show his loyalty. Young Tie's answer was exemplary. "I'm greatly indebted to you."
Department Associate Director Pan let out a loud sigh and said, "My poor sister… My brother-in-law's small company was finally starting to make profit after he started it more than ten years ago. But then, this happened. Moreover, he's a designer. If his hand doesn't function well any longer, he won't be able to take in more projects in the future… Young Tie."
"When my brother-in-law arrives, receive him on my behalf."
"Right now…" Department Associate Director Pan paused for a moment and said, "Go and look for Ling Ran."
Department Associate Director Pan lit up another cigarette, letting the misty smoke cover his face. "Don't mention my name, but think of a way to make Ling Ran take my brother-in-law in. Then, find a way to monitor the surgery on my behalf."