Left-Handed Awareness Day – The Truth About “Southpaw” Surgeons

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Tagged in nhs staff bank

Today is Left-Handed Awareness Day. A day where left-handed people around the world reflect on the struggles they face dealing with a world designed for right handed people.

Sometimes referred to by the slang name “southpaws”, left-handed people make up 10% of the world’s populations and are much more likely to be men than women.

Some notable left-handed individuals include:

  • Barack Obama: Former US President
  • Leonardo Da Vinci: Artist
  • David Bowie: Musician
  • Prince William: Heir to the British throne
  • Paula Radcliffe: Athlete
  • Neil Armstrong: Astronaut
  • Marie Curie: Scientist
  • Aristotle: Philosopher

As you can see from the variety of people on the list, being left-handed does not hold someone back but with that said, it can still make things more difficult.

So how does being left-handed affect surgeons? People who literally hold lives in their hands.

According to an article on the British Medical Journal “Left-handed surgeons lack access to left handed instruments while training, receive little mentoring about their left-handedness, and are more prone to needle stick injuries than their right-handed colleagues.”

However, Marian Annett’s theory of inheritance of handedness says that people who do not have the right shift gene may find it easier to use either hand for different tasks. As a number of surgical procedures require the use of both hands this may mean that left-handed people actually find it easier to learn certain manoeuvres than their right-handed counterparts as many are naturally ambidextrous.

Despite this they also have to deal with the fact those training them will likely only understand how to teach a right-handed person. They may find themselves coming up with their own ways of handling instruments or teaching themselves so they can adapt the movements to suit them.

Do you know a left-handed person? Why not share this article with them and find out what things they struggle with most due to being left-handed? We’d love to know what hidden struggles healthcare workers experience in a world of ’righties’!

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