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Doctor Wants to Wrench Around and Help

A smiling cartoon doctor holding a wrench.

Jeffrey Trapp, MD, vascular surgeon at Jetting Hospital in New Orleans, LA, hopes to put a wrench around the problems in healthcare.

Dr. Trapp is a plumber turned physician, and he knows his way around a problem. Dr. Trapp elaborates, “The unique thing about me is that I am a licensed plumber, and I became a physician because I want to solve more human problems. We have all dealt with plumbing problems in our homes and businesses. We also have plumbing in our bodies: from my perspective arteries and veins. Who is better suited to handle these problems than someone with a plumbing background?”

Many times, we notice that a wrench is put into a situation causing a problem. Dr. Trapp wants to use an adjustable wrench, for instance, to solve healthcare problems.

“Of course, this is a figurative wrench. But look at all the types of wrenches plumbers use. There is the crescent wrench and the pipe wrench, for example. As a vascular surgeon I use a clamp, for instance, which is kind of like a wrench. Sometimes we need to put a wrench on a problem to turn it in the right direction. But other times we must wrench around to deal with problems.”

In a separate interview, Dr Trapp elaborated even more to describe a situation in which he heard two nurses speaking about a shortage of suture material in the operating room. Dr. Trapp heard what was going on, and he took the opportunity to wrench around and address the issue. Apparently, wrenching around is not the same as turning around. Because wrenching around requires a sense of consciousness and a sense of focus to solve a problem.

“Yes. plumbers handle problems on the fly. We prepare for any type of situation we could face. Each problem that we face in our homes, or our businesses is unique. An individual situation can also be clinically significant. What I do now is help our hospital deal with problems that are clinically relevant. These issues have a high impact for our patients. Once we solve these problems, our patients can go back to their homes and businesses to conduct life as they normally would,” says Dr. Trapp.

Dr. Trapp’s process calls for physicians, nurses, and other healthcare processionals to Stop, Wrench Around and Intervene (SWAI). This level of awareness encourages us to focus on teamwork and shared problem solving.

Who knows, maybe all of us will be wrenching around to help solve problems.



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