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    What dying wishes or regrets might ophthalmologists have?

    Taking the big red bus test

    By Peter J. McDonnell, MD

    Alastair Mitchell is the youthful chief executive of a software company called Huddle. Mitchell’s leadership acumen has made him the subject of articles in The New York Times and other business periodicals.

    Noted for his success as an entrepreneur, Mitchell offers the following wisdom to college students just starting out:

    “I’d say go big or go home. And just trust yourself. Whatever your gut instinct is, you'll probably be right seven or eight times out of 10. So just go with your gut. We're here for only a very short time, so why not try to build something great?”

    More in this issue:  Novel iPhone app guides the blind via video calling

    That makes some sense to me. But I wonder if everyone’s gut instincts are really trustworthy. If possible, relying on good data and employing objective and verifiable solutions (e.g., evidence-based medicine) strike me as advantageous.

    When faced with a particularly difficult decision, Mitchell uses the “big red bus test.” He thinks about walking out of his building in London and crossing the street, only to turn and see that one of those monstrous London double-decker red buses is literally about to flatten him and send him to the hereafter. In the brief instant before the bus hits him, he wonders what would be the thing that he would most regret not having accomplished.

    "What is that burning thing inside of you that often eats at people at night?" The answer to this question should guide prioritization of the efforts of a successful chief executive officer, businessman, or (presumably) ophthalmologist.

    Click Here for the Last regrets

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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    • John P Sammartino MD
      Funny, everytime I image making different choices in my life, I end up being Chief at Wilmer, and writing amusing editorials for Ophthalmogy Times. But then again, I've already been to Florence.


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