How doctors handle fear will determine their ability to give care

Good reflections on health care errors: both factual medical mistakes and communications between the physician and patient. And a reminder that doctors are likely the most critical on themselves, as they relive their mistakes to avoid repeating them.

While none of us want to be subject to mistakes, people are human and mistakes happen, and hopefully there are enough checks and balances to ensure the vast majority are not serious. In my case, the group practice of my Blood and Marrow Clinic means I can ‘test’ different recommendations and approaches among different doctors (and they do weekly review of ‘active’ patients together), which reduces the risk of individual mistakes. Quote:

I know, and I tell my students, mistakes are how we grow.  We owe it to the patients we have seen in the past, to be better doctors tomorrow.  What students and doctors learn from error determines the physicians they become.  Fear and guilt are the marks of excellent doctors.  How they handle those powerful emotions determine their ability to give the finest care.

How doctors handle fear will determine their ability to give care.

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