Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?

Every doctor makes mistakes, and every doctor knows this. Yet the mantra of traditional medical culture is that doctors must be perfect. I think this culture is changing, but perhaps not fast enough.

LITFL’s Tessa Davis recently had an MJA Insight article published on this topic, ‘Making Mistakes‘. In it she mentions a TED talk by Brian Goldman called ‘Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?‘. It is well worth watching:

Let’s continue to make the culture of medicine more open and develop a healthy attitude to errors. It is the best way for us to understand why errors happen, the best way for us to learn from them and the best way to prevent them in the future.

Print Friendly


  1. shashkal says

    No comments yet…!!! I m usually not the first one to comment…. was hoping to read some confessed mistakes here… what Brian Goldman was saying is so true… it will take a lot to change it…. I ll start by confessing two very similar ones that Brian shared… discharged a young man who came with sorethroat as viral pharyngitis, patient returned a day later with suppurative sialadinitis and early ludwig’s; diagnosed appendicitis when it was a ureteric calculi.. think doctors having a batting average is a great idea!!

  2. Gaurav Nagar says

    NO WE CANNOT TALK ABOUT THAT! Everybody makes mistakes but no other career gets ruined to nearly the same extent. And matters of health and physical well being are taken much more personally by patient and family. Patients and family might seek revenge. I am not saying this lightly. I have seen physicians and surgeons getting beaten up and shot at by disgruntled patients and family. Getting sued is often not the end of it. Rule of thumb for medical professionals-Never be critical of a colleague in front of the patient.