Eleni Karafoka Mavrou
GI & HERNIA SURGEON

The person, the mother, the surgeon

What we are influences our actions and decisions. I'm a surgeon, I'm a woman, I'm a mother. Thοse features affect the way I view illness and the way I manage my patients. My surgical training tested my strengths. It taught me to control physical and mental stress and to go beyond my limits. It taught me that a surgical procedure is a “one-way road”. Once the surgeon has embarked on an operation, this must be concluded in the best possible way. No matter how difficult an operation may be, or what happens during its course, the surgeon alone has the absolute responsibility. The surgery must conclude with the best possible result. It cannot be left for later, it cannot be passed on to someone else. As a woman in this environment, I mustered the most powerful features of female nature. Perseverance, Patience and Endurance. When motherhood came along it completely changed my perspective. The world looks very different when seen through the eyes of children. From my children I learned to enjoy the "small" and "trivial" moments. They relegated my "ego" to second place. They made me a better doctor. They taught me to be incurably optimistic. They changed the way I view and deal with illness. When I treat a patient, I try to motivate his/her love for life. I believe this is the "single dominant" motivation for healing.

"There are no incurable diseases, there are only incurable patients"

For the patients

"No disease can win a person "

After 22 years in Surgery and having faced literally extreme incidents, I am now convinced that no illness can defeat a human being. Their patients beat themselves. The defeat comes from within.
As heretic as it sounds, the doctor, the medicines and all the other remedies are totally ineffective if the patient does not want to be healthy himself and has not decided to be healthy.
I have no nagging to claim that the disease can not kill. It may, however, in my view, there are two kinds of deaths. He comes every day, little by little by depriving the person of the joy of life and the one who simply marks the end of a light path. Each of us chooses which of the two we will choose.
This perception determines how I treat my illness and set my therapeutic goals. Quality of life" is the predominant destination. We now have the ability to eliminate pain in many different ways. At the same time, Minimal Interventional Surgery can also deal with serious surgical conditions with MINIMUM Surgical Wound and MAXIMUM surgical outcome. In the area of ​​oncology, newer targeted treatments are now being implemented with excellent results. Day by day we learn more and come closer to the treatment of diseases that until recently we considered them incurable.
Doctor is a tool in this process. The patient is the one who is called to give the toughest battles. If the patient does not want anyone can not ...!

The disease the operation and continuity

Responisbility

A huge responisbility

Prior to every surgery I stop being a mother, I stop being a wife. I leave all my personal life aside. The only thing on my mind is the surgery and the responsibility I have undertaken towards the patient who has entrusted me with his problem.
This responsibility is huge. Patients do not have the knowledge required to evaluate us. They do not know if what we are proposing is indeed what is best for them. They have no way of evaluating us using clear criteria. Their choice is based on our reputation, on our results, on the way we spoke to them, but mostly on their instinct. Their personal involvement in the surgery ends the moment they choose their surgeon. Throughout the operation, they shall be asleep. There is no option for second thoughts. They have no way to influence the surgeon's decisions, nor to refuse or to consent to anything. All this has been done prior the surgery and they have signed the document, which basically says they allow their surgeon to do whatever he deems right, aiming for the best possible result for them.
This responsibility is huge even for the "simplest" of procedures. Experience, knowledge, skill, coolness, sincerity, positive energy, and a strong team are what a surgeon needs to successfully accomplish his goal. Everything else will have to wait.