I made the decision to become a vet at a young age. Concentrating on the sciences meant I thought I had to neglect the hemisphere of my brain that dealt with artistic ability. A-level Chemistry, Biology and Maths do not lend themselves to artistic expression yet with time you realise there is artistry in the medical professions and vets are no exception.
In my opinion surgery demonstrates best the skills of the artisan – the skilled craftsperson. A great surgeon carries knowledge from their veterinary education, but must have compassion and the benefit of experience of years of physical practice. When physical skill is coupled with a certainty in judgement and decision-making you start to build the traits of greatness. However like watching Alan Knott keep wicket or Lionel Messi’s first touch, it is when you have the opportunity to closely observe surgeons hands at work that you may see glimpses of genius – the skill of the artisan.
One of my passions is imaging or more specifically ultrasonography. The use of sound waves to create images of the internal anatomy of a patient when done well is to me a form of artistry. If you watch an echocardiographer (a specialist trained in heart examination) the precision and deftness of touch is present in the way they obtain accurate, consistent and reproducible images of the moving heart and its circulatory system. Ultrasonographers who perform pregnancy scans skip across features of the unborn with a deft touch and accurate beauty – another sign of artistry at work.
At Abbey Vets we consider your pet’s health and friendship as our main concerns however it is obvious that with any health service there is an art to the science and so it appears that both sides of my brain were required after all.
Ben Hynes is a veterinary surgeon at Abbey Vets, Abergavenny