meatball surgery

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meatball surgery

Battlefield surgery that is performed hastily so as to quickly stabilize a patient and prevent imminent death. Popularized (and possibly coined) by H. Richard Hornberger in his semi-autobiographical novel M*A*S*H, which focused on doctors serving in a fictional mobile army surgical hospital during the Korean War. Primarily heard in US. At the height of the conflict, our surgeons were primarily concerned with meatball surgery, getting wounded soldiers patched up long enough to receive more specialized treatment down the line.
See also: surgery
References in periodicals archive ?
"I always wanted to be TV's Hawkeye Pierce and do meatball surgery,but I didn't know anything about it.On my first day in surgery at med school, I almost passed out.
Even so, should this form of meatball surgery succeed, "3 LBS." would mark another step along the bland procedural path the Eye network has followed to ratings glory.
MASH surgeons performed what they called "meatball surgery" at the front, i.e., their aim was to stabilize incoming wounded, often for transfer to an army hospital for considered care.
action in Iraq, to the extent that "Saving Jessica Lynch" represents the TV-movie equivalent of meatball surgery, this production qualifies as a minor victory.