From: Joshua Rothman
A few years ago, he prepared a lecture called “All My Worst Mistakes.” For months, he lay awake in the mornings, remembering the patients he had failed.
There’s a tradition of physicians writing about their errors. “When the Air Hits Your Brain,” a neurosurgical memoir by Frank Vertosick, Jr., begins with a scene in which a resident, while drilling a hole in a man’s skull, accidentally goes too far, plunging the drill bit into the brain. “Oh, shit!” he exclaims. (An older doctor reassures him: “It’s just the lateral hemisphere.”)
Physician writers usually view such errors with a generous spirit. They point out that medicine is built on mistakes, because doctors, like the rest of us, learn by screwing up.