Please wait...

Two Important Aspects

By Hui-Kuang Huang, MD

My hand surgery journey began in a medical center in Taiwan, where I initially had my medical practice ( Then, I moved back to my hometown and worked in a regional hospital for the next 10 years ( Having worked in a medical center and a big regional hospital, I believe that there are two important aspects to achieving good patient communication.

The first important issue is our attitude when facing our patients.

I believe that good patient communication can be achieved when we put ourselves in the patients’ shoes. We should give suggestions or surgical plans to patients only after we have completely understood the patients’ environment, needs, and expectations. I keep telling myself and my fellows to not be selfish and not treat patients like fools. Patients come to us for help—it is immoral to take advantage of them when they are in a weakened or sick state. We must be honest with the patients and help them figure out the best solution for themselves, even if it inconveniences us. In some cases, taking advantage of the patient may be morally wrong but legally correct. However, is that fair to the patient?

The second important issue pertains to our abilities.

For a surgeon, having sufficient knowledge and good surgical skills is fundamental to solving patients’ problems and offering the best outcomes. Every surgeon begins as a young surgeon and keeps working to hone their skills every day. We may have to handle patients at any point during this growth process. I am not afraid to tell my patients that I am not capable enough to treat their problems at present, and I also tell myself that I will gain the requisite capability in the very near future. One just needs to be humble and eager to learn from others. It is also worthwhile doing a fellowship with the masters. I am very fortunate that I could learn from many masters here in Taiwan to better my hand surgery skills. At my current hospital, many patients come in with industrial and motor vehicle injuries. I am very grateful to my mentors who inculcated the ability to treat these patients in me. I learned the skills of brachial plexus injury treatment and flap reconstruction from professor Yuan-Kun Tu. I learned wrist and hand arthroscopic skills from professor Jui-Tien Shih. I would also like to thank professors Jung-Pan Wang and Yi-Chao Huang—they fostered my hand surgery and microsurgery skills. All my mentors instilled confidence in me regarding my surgery skills. I firmly believe that a crucial part of good patient communication is for patients to see and believe in our ability to treat them.

Hand surgery is an art. Having a passion for life-long learning is key to becoming a good hand surgeon. However, good patient communication is key to becoming a good artist.  

Hui-Kuang Huang
Orthopaedic and Hand Surgery
Ditmanson Medical Foundation Chiayi Christian Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan
Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

Comment (1)
David Nelson, MD
December 17, 2021 12:32 am


I enjoyed your essay and agree that we need to become good scientists but the key to being a great doctor is becoming a great artist.


Leave comments

Your email is safe with us.