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Education Schedule - February 2016 (PDF)  

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'We Were Dry When We Closed'

Ubi Coivimus 480px

Several people responded to last month's question about the sign in Latin above the doorway to OR7. The sign reads "Ubi coivimus eramus sicci."

Here's what readers of Sutures thought the sign meant:

Grace Tebow, RN

"Where we have come together, we were in good health."

However, Tebow pointed out, "sicci" translates in some places as "sober." She wondered: "Isn't there a better translation?"

Jian Tajbakhsh, PhD, assistant professor of Surgery

"Where we come together there will be healing."

"Such a sign above the entrance of an operating room should encourage the teamwork of surgeons and assistants to be optimistic about their actual treatment," Tajbakhsh wrote. "Meaning that an improvement in patient health is goal of their teamwork."

Daniel R. Margulies, MD, professor of Surgery, section chief of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Intensive Care

"It was dry when we closed."

Margulies came nearest to the translation that attending physician Leo Gordon, MD, former associate director of Surgical Education, was thinking of when he had the sign erected 20 years ago. Gordon's translation is "We were dry when we closed." In his popular book Cut to the Chase: 100 Matrix Pearls for Doctors, Gordon referred to the phrase as "a standing semantic joke among surgeons" that is best avoided.

The phrase, Gordon wrote, "usually precedes a litany of self-rebuke, most often following a re-exploration for bleeding, usually in the wee hours of the morning."