I'm going to rewrite for copywriters this extract from Sir Frederic Treves's essay on what makes a good surgeon called 'The Idol with Hands of Clay':
"The good surgeon is born, not made. He is a complex product in any case, and often something of a prodigy. His qualities cannot be expressed by diplomas or appraised by university degrees. It may be possible to ascertain what he knows, but no examination can elicit what he can do.He must know the human body as a forester knows his wood; must know it even better than he, must know the roots and branches of every tree, the source and wanderings of every rivulet, the banks of every alley, the flowers of every glade.As a surgeon, moreover, he must be learned in the moods and troubles of the wood, must know of the wild winds that may rend it, of the savage things that lurk in it's secret haunts, of the strangling creepers that may throttle it's sturdiest growth, of the rot and mould that may make dust of it's very heart. As an operator, moreover, he must be a deft handicraftsman and a master of touch.He may have all these acquirements and yet be found wanting; just as a man may succeed when shooting at a target, yet fail when faced with a charging lion. He may be a clever manipulator and yet be mentally clumsy. He may even be brilliant, but Heaven help the poor soul who has to be operated on by a brilliant surgeon. Brilliancy is out of place in surgery. It is pleasing in the juggler who plays with knives in the air, but it causes anxiety in the operating theatre.The surgeon's hands must be delicate, but they must also be strong. He needs a lacemaker's fingers and a seaman's grip. He must have courage, be quick to think and prompt to act, be sure of himself and captain of the venture he commands. The surgeon has often to fight for another's life. I conceive of him then not as a massive Hercules wrestling ponderously with Death for the body of Alcestis, but as a nimble man in a doublet and hose who, over a prostrate form, fights Death with a rapier."