Samuel B. Labow

1993 to 1994

I would like to thank the Society and its members for the privilege of addressing you. For me, giving the presidential address is probably the most difficult task of this year. For inspiration, I reviewed the presidential addresses of recent years. After this review, I realized that the great issues pertaining to our Society have already been presented in a most eloquent manner. In fact, there is truly nothing presidential left to be said at this time. However, I also realized that I was completely unwilling to allow you an extra 15 minutes for lunch break. Therefore, I decided that, instead of giving you a presidential address, I would give us all a pep talk. If any of you would question the need for a pep talk, I would suggest that you spend a day or two visiting the surgical lounge of your local hospital. The detailed descriptions of the missed three-foot putt for the club championship, the Monday morning commentary on every football, basketball, or baseball game, the debate of the relative merits of a BMW vs. a Mercedes have all been replaced by endless discussions of the problems affecting physicians in general and more specifically surgeons. What has brought about this change? The reasons are many. We have a federal government that tells us that surgeons have little cognitive function in patient care and that our surgical skills are grossly overvalued. We have third-party payers who tell us on whom, when, and where we can operate and then demand to know why the patient was not discharged immediately after surgery.