The hospital, the operating room and the wards should be laboratories, laboratories of the highest order."

—William Halsted

Extensive changes have been incorporated into Cardiothoracic Surgery (3rd Edition), but as with the prior two editions, the 3rd edition continues as a manual intended for residents at any stage of their experience, including cardiothoracic fellowship. It is meant as a guideline to understand the pathophysiologic rationale of what we do in the operating room and intensive care unit. Emphasis is placed on physiology, anatomy, pathology, medical management, and surgical technique. It is not meant to be fully and completely comprehended on the first reading, but will hopefully succeed in making the experience on cardiothoracic surgery more understandable and enjoyable. Above all, the welfare of the patient must be the ultimate goal of any such endeavor.

As physicians, we took a vow to preserve life, often at great personal sacrifice. That vow is integral to the Hippocratic Oath, which, in its unadulterated version, states: "I will not give to a woman an instrument to produce abortion. With purity and holiness I will pass my life and practice my art." Human life is sacred, beginning in the womb and ending in the grave, a fact society and medicine sometimes ignore to their grave detriment.

In a world where self-gratification and freedom of choice are often substitutes for discipline and compassion, we take solace in the observations of the great neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing:

"...Only when the gift requires self-denial and only if the giver...speaketh the truth in his heart, will he, like St. Francis, come to be.. .forever blessed."

Between two people of equal technical skill, the one who cares will do the better job.

—Fritz J. Baumgartner

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