Hodling Fast

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Now remember, with every blow of the hammer, you’ve got to feel the femoral nail advancing through the bone. If you don’t, then for heaven’s sake, stop. It might be impinging on the cortex or it might be too large for the canal. Keep whacking, and you’ll fracture the cortex.” The trainer’s calm, authoritative voice boomed out across the room as a dozen orthopedic surgeons toiled away on the cadaver limbs laid out before them. Pausing to observe the technique of one of the surgeons, he glanced up to see his boss, CEO Peter Walsh, crack open the door and squeeze through, trying his best to be unobtrusive. The trainer glanced at the clock. “Okay, let’s save some of this fun for the afternoon,” he called out. “We’ll meet in the lobby in ten minutes and walk over to lunch.”

In addition to making a range of products from artificial hips to scalpels, Crescordia was one of a handful of major companies that developed, manufactured, and sold the steel and titanium plates, nails, and screws—known as fixation devices—that surgeons used to repair broken bones. At least twice a month, Crescordia hosted training sessions like this one for orthopedic surgeons who used the company’s products. Walsh joined the group for lunch as often as possible. It was a great opportunity to connect with the physicians and hear firsthand what they liked and didn’t like about Crescordia’s products. Besides, he just plain enjoyed their company. Trauma surgeons tended to be brilliant but down to earth. With their hammers, saws, and drills, they were as much carpenters as they were doctors. Maybe because so many of the cases they saw were the result of bad luck, they had a certain perspective on the world. They tended to joke a lot when they got together, and if you could tolerate some morbid humor you found yourself laughing along.

After the air-conditioned chill and formaldehyde odor of the lab, the heat of the summer day was a welcome change. Strolling along the paved path to the cafeteria,...
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