Colin T. Son, MD


September 15, 2009

It's a great thing when your work life and your personal life seem to converge serendipitously, as it has for Dr. Ramona Bates, a plastic surgeon in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dr. Bates lives to sew, and she has since she was a child. Nowadays, it's quilts when at home and sutures when at work -- all of this when she's not writing online at Suture for a Living.

In a recent interview, she discussed what keeps her maintaining a blog, the pain of using staples rather than sutures to close skin (in haiku form), and about Quilts of Valor, a group that creates and collects homemade quilts to send to our troops.

Colin Son, MD: You have logged almost 3 years behind the keyboard; that's almost an eternity in blog life. Is what attracted you to start blogging the same as what keeps you blogging? Or has that evolved over the life of Suture for a Living?

Ramona Bates, MD: Actually, it's only been a little over 2 years [May 2007], but the same things keep me blogging: an interest in learning, teaching, and sharing. I love the medical blogging community.

Dr. Son: It seems to me that the topics you cover and the style of your posts have been largely consistent over that time. Do you think that's true, or has your focus shifted?

Dr. Bates: For the most part, it's true. I don't feel like I'm a great storyteller. I stick to trying to make sure that my facts are straight so that I put "good" information out there for patients and colleagues. Over time, I have ended up with my "Shout Outs" on Tuesday and my quilt posts on Fridays. I use Sundays to promote SurgeXperiences. The other days are medically related posts, but not always plastic surgery.

Suture for a Living hosts Grand Rounds
on September 15, 2009.

Dr. Son: Since the last time you hosted Grand Rounds, what have been some of your favorite surgically focused posts?

Dr. Bates: My flexor tendon repair series: Breast Masses in Adolescent Girls, Women in Surgery, and Nutritional Deficiency in Post-Bariatric Patients.

Dr. Son: I want to put you on the spot and ask you to do something funny and creative: Could you come up with a haiku detailing the pain of surgical staples over suture closures, since you suture for a living?

Dr. Bates:

Vase broken, skin cut
Glue repairs grandma's treasures
Blue vase, baby's cheek

Dr. Bates also talked about her other love: quilting. On her site, she posts photos of quilts that she and friends have made.

Dr. Son: What happens to your quilts once they're complete?

Dr. Bates: Most are given away. I make some for the Quilts of Valor project, a group that creates and collects homemade quilts to send to our troops. Others go to friends and family.

Dr. Son: What does the future look like in terms of your online presence?

Dr. Bates: I hope to "mature" and adapt as needed. I have no plans to quit blogging. I don't know if I am up to podcasting, so for now I will stick to the written word.

On September 15 Dr. Bates hosts Grand Rounds, a weekly adventure best described as the CliffsNotes of the blogosphere. Grand Rounds features the best online writing from physicians, nurses, patients, and others interested in healthcare.