Waking Up with the Wrong Leg Gone

Anna McKenzie
2 min readJun 15, 2022


The power of context in surgery… and copywriting

Can you imagine going into surgery to get your leg amputated, and you wake up to find that the wrong leg is gone?

It happened to a man in Austria just last year… and he’s certainly not the first.

How does something like that happen?

When you’re a surgeon, you may perform multiple surgeries a day, all requiring intense decision-making and focus.

The basics, like whether this is the right patient and what surgery should be performed, are administrative context.

Because they’re so obvious, they can be overlooked.

That’s why the World Health Organization published its Surgical Safety Checklist in 2008… and it has improved patient outcomes. (Though you have to use the list for it to be effective.)

I know you can’t unlearn that now (you’re welcome) so I’m hoping it reminds you how important context is when you’re writing copy for your audience.

Where have they come from? Where are they going? What should you be acknowledging, addressing, or preparing them for?

You don’t write copy in a vacuum.

When you think about the whole customer journey (ask your client — or reflect on it, if you’re a business owner), how does that inform what copy should be on each page or email within your sales funnel?

Be a shepherd of those in your care, like a good surgeon (of which there are MANY 😊).

Have you been in a situation where context changed everything you were going to say or write?

Your friendly neighborhood copywriter,

Anna @ CreativeDemand



Anna McKenzie

Christ follower. Copywriter-in-Chief @ CreativeDemand, LLC. Author of Mission, Market, Message: The Actionable Guide to Marketing for Small Business Owners.