All Doctors are Jackasses


‘All Doctors Are Jackasses’ is the title of the talk I gave at SMACC last March as part of the ‘Mind of the Resuscitationist’ plenary with Scott Weingart, Cliff Reid and Simon Carley. Subscribe to the SMACC Podcast to hear the other talks as they are released.

This is the abstract for my talk:

It will come as no surprise that the title of this talk was not taken from ‘How to win friends and influence people’. The subject may make you feel uneasy, and so it should, but no resuscitationist can afford to ignore it. You might think that you are not a ‘Jackass’, but cognitive science tell us to expect that – the ‘blind spot bias’ is universal. I will convince you that you are indeed a ‘Jackass’ and I will show you why. Together we will delve into the workings of the human mind to understand how we think, and how our minds can (and frequently do) sabotage us in critical life-or-death situations. Finally, we will explore ways we can overcome our universal ‘Jackassness’ and become better doctors so that we can keep patients safe and help save lives.

The content of the talk comes from standing on the shoulders of two giants: Pat Croskerry and Daniel Kahneman — I list both among my heroes.

Watch the video:

Listen to the audio by clicking here and view the slides:


By the way, the title of the talk was inspired by one of my teachers, forensic pathologist Tim Koelmeyer – he features in these LITFL posts:

… and this is what people tweeted about the talk on Twitter:

References and Links


Journal Articles and Textbooks

  • Croskerry P. Diagnostic Failure: A Cognitive and Affective Approach. In: Henriksen K, Battles JB, Marks ES, Lewin DI, editors. Advances in Patient Safety: From Research to Implementation (Volume 2: Concepts and Methodology). Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2005 Feb. PubMed PMID: 21249816. [Free Full Text]
  • Croskerry P. From mindless to mindful practice–cognitive bias and clinical decision making. N Engl J Med. 2013 Jun 27;368(26):2445-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1303712. PubMed PMID: 23802513.
  • Croskerry P. Context is everything or how could I have been that stupid? Healthc Q. 2009;12 Spec No Patient:e171-6. PubMed PMID: 19667765. [Free Full Text]
  • Croskerry P, Cosby KS, Schenkel SM, Wears RL. Patient Safety in Emergency Medicine, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009. [Google Books Preview]
  • Kahneman D. Thinking, Fast and Slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2011 [Google Books Preview]

FOAM and web resources

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