Title: The Trauma of Being a Trauma Surgeon and the Power of Peak State [Interview][Transcript]
Guest: Dr. Akram Alashari
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Akram Alashari, MD is a Trauma Surgeon and Critical Care Physician. He earned his MD at the age of 23, and completed General Surgery Residency Training at the University of Connecticut. He then earned board-certification in general surgery at the age of 28, among the youngest in the nation. He subsequently completed Surgical Critical Care sub-specialty training at the University of Florida.
Segment overview: Akram Alashari, MD, talks about trauma surgery.
Health Professional Radio – Trauma Surgery
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, very glad that you could join us today. Our guest in studio today is Dr. Akrim Alashari, he’s a Trauma Surgeon, Critical Care Physician and the Author of the book The Power of Peak State: Massively Enhance Your Personal Potential. He’s among the youngest is the United States to ever be board certified in General Surgery. Attaining that certification at the age of 28 after first earning a Medical Degree at the age of 23 and he’s here today to talk with us about his experiences in Trauma Surgery and also how the Peak State has helped him to overcome some of the traumas that he’s associated with on a daily basis. Welcome to Health Professional Radio today Dr. Alashari.
Dr. Akram Alashari Thanks Neal.
N: Thank you. You attained board certification in Surgery at a very young age, that’s quite a mature undertaking for someone who’s 23 even in your mid to upper 20s. How did you achieve such a feat?
A: Neal, by no means was it easy. But what it takes is committed focus. I feel that once we know what we want, then it doesn’t matter anymore how hard it is as long as we’ve decided that that’s what we want, and we’re committed, we can attain it.
N: So basically whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve. Yeah?
N: General Surgery differs greatly from Trauma Surgery. When we’re talking about Trauma Surgery, is that any type of trauma or a specific type of trauma, say, not necessarily a car accident but trauma due to a previous surgery. What type of trauma are we talking about?
A: So for the most part, it’s any type of traumatic injury. So what I see to the most is falls, even from down level falls, trips and falls, falls from ladders, falls from trees, any type of falls, car accidents, stabbings and shootings and assault and even sports injury as well. So, any type of injury you can think of, even burns as well.
N: I asked about these types of trauma that you deal with because the person who’s fallen down the stairs is going to have a different frame of mind than the person who’s been electrically shocked or maybe the person who’s survived an auto-accident and is about to go under. How do you deal with these people from a Surgeon to patient point of view and how did the Peak State helped you achieved this I guess balance between helping them and maintaining your cool?
A: The most important thing is knowing the fact that once they arrived in the trauma room, I have to asses if there are any life-threatening injuries. And so it’s very chaotic because there multiple physicians involved, nurses, technicians and we’re all trying to help the patient. But it’s up to the Trauma Surgeon to orchestrate all of that and at the same time determine whether or not the patient needs life-saving surgery. In order for me to help the patient, I’ve got to maintain my cool, I’ve got to be able to communicate well to everybody involved and I’ve gonna make sure that I’m orchestrating the care of the patient and dealing with life-threatening injuries. And being in a Peak State of mind gives me the clarity of focus and clarity of… so I can do that much more effectively.
N: In dealing with trauma victims, how has the Peak State allowed you to deal with the stress? You’re coordinating a massive effort with everyone trying to help one particular patient or maybe two, but it’s a concerted effort on a focal goal and you are at the helm of all of these. What about the stress factor? Once you’re at this state of peak performance, are we talking about the stress just magically disappears or is there some mechanism that allows you to compartmentalize certain stressors to make them ineffective when it comes to your peak performance?
A: That’s a great question, Neal. What I basically do is modulate the level of stress. I recognize the fact that too much stress is gonna lead to distress and it’s gonna lead to being ineffective, whether I’m in the Trauma Room or in the OR. What I need to obtain is the level eustress. Eustress is where you are at your peak performance where you match the level of complexity of the case…level of your scale and so by elevating my level of consciousness and my level of awareness, my level of confidence increases and that allows me to better take care of the patient. What happens with the stress is it doesn’t go away but rather I utilized the increase to rush, the adrenaline rush to enhance my powers.
N: So this is all done within you through this state of mind, yet you’re having physical manifestations of energy, adrenaline clarity and as you say, equaling out the stress with your particular level of skill. That being said, does the Peak State tell the truth when it comes to your limitations or are your limitations expanded due to the Peak State?
A: When you’re in Peak State, you have increased abilities, ability to do things you’ve never done before because you’re out of your comfort zone. But when you’re out of your comfort zone, when you’re in Peak State, you’re okay with that. So rather than the rush of hormones and adrenaline being detrimental and causing you to say “shake in the OR” which adrenaline can do rather it increases your clarity of thinking. So you redirect these hormones and these feelings to enhance your abilities.
N: When did you first discover this Peak State? When did a light go on in your head and say “Hey, this is something that I can tap into at my discretion”?
A: I remember distinctly a day when I was a Fourth year Surgery Resident, and I was the Chief of the service and a trauma had come in and the patient has sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his neck, chest and abdomen and the Attending Physician who oversees the Residents wasn’t readily available. And I remember taking care of this patient all the way from the Trauma Room to the OR and being able to do things in a way that I never had done before and I realized it was because of this heightened level of awareness and that things were just moving so smoothly and in a such a good way that I said, “Why don’t I reproduce this feeling when I want to and enhance my abilities?” and that’s when it was.
N: Now you do have a website associated with your book, yeah?
A: That’s correct, thepowerofpeakstate.com.
N: Now if we go there and we visit this site, what type of information will we find there about attaining this State for ourselves apart from buying the book?
A: So I’ve provided contents, both of the video content as well as audio content on perspectives, and ideas, and thoughts on how you can change the way you think and how you can elevate your level of thinking and your level of consciousness. So that you can start to become better at being out of your comfort zone and start to realize that there’s so much more to tap into, so much more that you’re able to do. And you can also communicate with me directly through the website as well.
N: Alright, that’s some really, really great information and that is thepowerofpeakstate.com?
N: Yes, thepowerofpeakstate.com and I’m assuming that your book is available at all of the major literary outlets: Amazon, Booksellers and what not?
A: Yes it’s available online through Amazon as well as through CreateSpace.
N: Great, thanks. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio this afternoon speaking with Dr. Akram Alashari, Trauma Surgeon, Critical Care Physician and Author of the book The Power of Peak State: Massively Enhance Your Personal Potential and he’s been in studio today with us talking about a Trauma Surgeon, the different types of trauma that he has to deal with and how the Peak State has helped him maintain his cool while coordinating effective care of his patients. It’s been great having you here with us today Dr. Alashari.
A: Thanks so much, Neal. I appreciate it.
N: Thank you. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe through our podcast on iTunes.