Skip to content

Letters to a Young Airway Practitioner

a little background

Early in my career, I was lucky enough to have some great mentors. There was one mentor in particular who taught me almost everything I know about how to manage difficult airways. One day soon after he passed away, I went by his office to pick up a few things and came across a faded envelope buried under some other papers headed for the trash. To my surprise, inside was a copy of a letter he had once written to an anxious intern on how to approach his airway training.

Reading that letter brought back so many memories, and as I read his words, his voice came to life again and filled me with his earnestness and sincere desire to help the next generation of clinicians. I realized that it would be a shame for all the thoughts he put down in this letter to vanish, so I am sharing it with all of you. I hope you read it and that one day you become a mentor for young interns and pass what you have gleaned from it on to someone else. The text is a little faded but it is well worth the effort to read.

About the Letters

This letter is, of course, fiction. I had some great mentors, but my path to successful airway management was uneven. Sometimes I got it right; sometimes, I had to learn things the hard way. Looking back at that journey made me want to create a better path for those who come after me.

Those who know me also know I love all things analog. So in the tradition of Ranier Maria Rilke, I decided to use an old typewriter to write a few letters from the current me to young me, Things I wish I had known before my training had started in earnest. I don’t know if I would have listened, (I was pretty stubborn back then), but it was a fun exercise.

This is for every new intern now and in the future and those who had to learn things the hard way.

  • Jonathan St George MD
  • Creator of the Protected Airway Course