MEET DR. POOL

 

... and I got hundreds of complex calculations correct. 

Meanwhile, I never got less than a 100 on any exam in Calculus II and Calculus III and Differential Equations in college. These are not exactly gimme courses. 

How did I do it? By knowing what I was doing, proceeding carefully, and double-checking my work.

But why would you care that I did so well at math and in school in general? 

I know my patients don't care how smart I may be. They don't care that I got into Mensa in high school. Or any other (silly) markers of intelligence. 

I know my patients care about whether I can get them thru the operation and back home again in one piece! 

I proceed carefully. I do not rush, I take my time. I'm not a slow surgeon but some operations go fast and some go slow and I'm willing to go at whatever speed I need to go to make no mistakes.   

And I double-check my work. All humans make mistakes, and I am certainly no exception. But I check my work, I look twice for bleeding, or three times, or four times - whatever it takes. And I listen to my team members when they have concerns. 

My past success is important to my patients, though, because this relentless approach to excellence is the same approach I take with operating.

 

I know what I'm doing - I've had great training and I continue to learn new operations and new techniques. 

In college, I took tests every once in a while. But I learned to be ready for tests by being ready to work every day. I spent hours day and night working on difficult problems until I had the correct answers. I did not play video games and I did not goof around. Suffice it to say, I was more focused than most college students. 

My final exams are every day now. 

Every day I am asked to apply what I have learned and to perform flawlessly. Fortunately for my patients, I am an expert test-taker. 

Basically, I don't want to get an A on your test ---> on the test of your operation. I don't even want to get a score of 100. I want to do it the best way it can possibly be done. This relentless approach to excellence has been a lifetime in the making. 

Cardiac & thoracic fellowship at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

General surgery residency at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas

Internship in general surgery at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas

MD degree from

UT Southwestern in Dallas

BS in Chemical Engineering from University of Alabama

Valedictorian at Grimsley High School in Greensboro, NC

"I have been a student my entire life. I would characterize my approach to learning as a relentless pursuit of perfection. God blessed me with considerable academic success. When I was in grade school, my father suggested to me that it was possible - by being careful and double-checking my work - to not miss any questions on my math tests. 

 

I took him up on that.

 

Probably the best example is my Statics class in college.  Statics, not statistics ---> it is a notoriously difficult course in engineering. I never missed anything. On any test. On any assignment. On anything. My good friend Glenn - who is not dumb - failed the class... 

Student

 

I like to learn from books. 

Here are a few of my favorite books:

Thinking fast.jpg
Thinking Fast and Slow
Outstanding book that provides insight into how the brain works, how we make mistakes, and how prone to influence from even random information our thinking can be. 
My take-home point from this book:
I treat all of life like it's a trick question. 
mindset.jpg
Mindset
Outstanding book that distinguishes between a fixed mindset such as "You are just not good at math" and a growth mindset such as "Anyone can be good at math."
My take-home point from this book:
I could see that I had a fixed mindset and I changed to a growth mindset. 
My take-home point from this book:
Great speaking is always done in context - know your audience. 
epidemic.jpg
The Epidemic
Outstanding book that compares and contrasts the Columbine school shootings, the 9-11 terrorist attacks and the Enron scandal. It is a book on social commentary but I took it as a parenting book.
Stand like Churchill, Stand like Lincoln
An excellent book that provides tips on how to speak in public. Nothing ground-breaking but has many effective tips all in one source. 
My take-home point from this book:
Hard work and success are not as important as empathy & compassion - indeed, character. 
four arguments.jpg
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
Outstanding book that argues not that you should watch LESS television, but that its influence on humans is so detrimental that the technology should be destroyed.
My take-home point from this book:
I got rid of television service at our house! 
stand like.jpg

Books I have recently read:

art of medical.jpg
The Art of Medical Leadership
Outstanding book that provides tips on how to effectively lead. The content is applicable to all types of leadership roles, not just in medicine. 
My take-home point from this book:
I learned to stop allowing my ego to make me miserable. 
open.jpg
Open
A good book that provides a look into the life of Andre Agassi. I was particularly interested to read about his father, who was some sort of sociopath, yet able to push Agassi to tennis stardom. 
My take-home point from this book:
Great success often comes at a great cost.
the image.jpg
The Image
An excellent book that explains how "news" is often not news at all but simply pseudo-events, things that happen which are reported as news but carry no real social weight. 
My take-home point from this book:
I can better distinguish between valuable news and the reporting of pseudo-events. 

For me, school is not over. I like to learn. 

I learn from the Bible. It is the best-selling book of all time for a reason. It is the source of wisdom, guidance, and truth that I need in order to be less like me and more like a perfect God. 

I like to study and teach the Bible. I have had the privilege to speak at several churches. If you would be interested to have me speak at your church, please contact me by email. 

"Surviving a Bitter Diagnosis"
Pathway of Life Church
Pastor Danny Wegman
"The Excruciation of the Cross"
Pathway of Life Church
Pastor Danny Wegman
"What Will You Wear to Heaven"
Pathway of Life Church
Pastor Danny Wegman
"Righteous but Selfish"
Long Creek Baptist Church
Pastor Don Ivey

How long has it been since YOU learned something new? 

I don't mean that you learned how to put an emoji in a text message or how to send a tweet. 

I mean, how long since you learned something you had no business learning? I think almost anyone can learn almost anything. 
 

I decided to learn woodworking about 6 months ago. Now, there is a saying at our house is that when a lightbulb goes out, I call the handyman. 

For 16 years of marriages, I did not have so much as a screwdriver in the garage. 

But my oldest son John Mark and I have been learning how to work with wood. I bought a table saw and a miter saw and a router and on and on. 

Our first major woodworking project was remodeling the pantry. Momma wanted more shelving space. 

Instead of just expanding the shelves, I decided to overhaul the entire pantry. 

We stripped it to the drywall and rebuilt it with:

- A fancy entry door with genuine antique doorknob

- Beadboard

- Baseboards

- Crown moulding

- Solid pine board shelves with shou sugi ban finish and tongue-and-groove joinery

- Custom rolling ladder

- Custom chicken-wire light fixture

Keep your brain sharp and your life interesting - learn something new!"  

God bless & heal you! 

J. Mark Pool, MD

ABTS Board-certified

214-692-6135

Member of Society of Thoracic Surgeons