Doctor: So you made a mistake


So you made a mistake. I know you’re busy beating yourself up about it. I know that after years and years of training in life-saving medicine you’ve also trained yourself to accept the blame for all sorts of things beyond your control.

You’re asking, “How could I have missed that,” or “Why didn’t I think about that?” You’re wondering why you didn’t give a different drug, order another test or do a different procedure. You may be replaying the whole scene in your mind; the nightmare intubation, the pediatric trauma, the young family, the old couple. You’re imagining the death notification, or simply the way you had to admit that you did something wrong. You may not be sleeping well. You may have had a little too much wine to cope. It’s possible that your family sees it in your eyes. You might be looking forward with dread to that upcoming peer-review. You fear, after talking with risk-management, that you’ll be facing a lawsuit. You might even be wondering if any of it was worth it, or if you can keep going on after what happened.

For the full article, please visit Emergency Medicine News.

Edwin Leap is an emergency physician who blogs at and is the author of the Practice Test and Life in Emergistan.   This article originally appeared in Emergency Medicine News.

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