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I’M SAFE’ is an acronym used by the airline industry as a process of self-calibration: Illness, Medication, Stress (personal, financial, time pressures), Abuse (alcohol or recreational substances and hangovers) Fatigue (physical and mental including sleep deprivation) Emotion (anger, aggression, depression, personal grief/loss) Eating (a low blood sugar and hydration). How often are we working when feeling below par and what support is on offer? The psychomotor skills of the experienced surgeon are generally preserved in times of difficulty but cognitive skills are attenuated.

The decline in cognitive function can be ameliorated by having the team on board but this is conditional on a level of self-governance and a supportive team. David was one of the first in the country to introduce ‘briefing and debriefing’ in theatre. Our day starts with first name introductions and enquiring if there is anything to celebrate. It is also useful to declare if you are under the weather. A declaration and request for help in times of difficulty goes a long way – after all, we are human!

Are you stressed and under the weather? Are you losing sleep, not exercising or not looking after your diet? Can you exercise self-calibration without feeling guilty or under pressure? Do you need help? David has a busy job and it is necessary to keep things in balance. He offers clinics to advice on Lifestyle – Exercise, Sleep, Diet, Smoking and Alcohol.

A healthy body makes for a healthy mind. David has spent twenty-five years in Cardiac Surgery treating for what the most part is a potentially preventable disease. He feels that although he is delivering a good service this is not really ‘turning off the tap’. He does take his Lifestyles messages to primary and secondary schools as well as higher education colleges. The message is powerful as it is coming from a consultant cardiac surgeon.

He is unique in that he is now putting himself on the front line to help you. He practices what he advises. He believes he is doing it himself and at the age of fifty-five was awarded his first Dan in the martial art, Karate –Wado-ryu – way of peace.

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