Physicians have to accept not knowing it allLittle do beginners know that it’s such measures that put masters on high pedestals as they use their mistakes as a learning tool rather than something that slows their progress. A typical case would be mistaking inflammatory atypia with pancreatic cancer. Its only alongside a noble master that one can be able to capture such mistakes.

Arrogance is bound to make the mighty fall

One book that might change your mind as a doctor on claiming to know it all is Kathryn Schulz’s book titled Being Wrong: Adventures in the margin of error. All humans are familiar with deep feeling of depression and disappointment due to a mistake made. Doctors are no different seeing that they too are as human as any other. The author of the book writes and I quote ‘being wrong is a narrow, unhappy gamut from nauseating to worse than death.’ This can be attested by every doctor who has ever felt like throwing up every time they remember a past mistake.

In his book, Kathryn states that one should turn the pessimism of mistakes made by not only owning up to them but also being amused, baffled, and fascinated. He quotes William James sayings stating that its healthier to exercise less nervousness in a world where avoiding mistakes is an inevitable task.

One fact written by Henry Petroski in his book, Success through failure: The Paradox of design, which is greatly amusing, is how he says that humans learn more from mistakes than they do from success.

Mistakes shape the character of doctors

Being human is making mistakes. There is no way of getting away from that as it’s what makes us. Frank Keil and Leon Rozenblit performed a series of experiments that clearly depicted human’s shortcomings in the vast knowledge they claim to possess. Surprisingly enough, depressed people are believed to have a better perspective of reality as compared to those who aren’t under depression.

According to Bill Robertie, one of the world’s best chess players, focusing on mistakes helps one to improve their skill. The ironical part is that we as humans aren’t likely to say sorry despite the fact that making mistakes is a common behavior in all of us. This can not only remove any disappointment but also resolve the anger and guilt built inside.

Unfortunately, some states have dismissed doctor’s sentiments and apology after mistakes as evident in verdicts after a malpractice lawsuit. There is no justifying any of the mistakes made though it would be good if some of the laws were loosened. A doctor would be willing to be honest when having a conversation with their patient but not equally cooperative when on trial at a court.

Parting shot about mistakes made

The Morris’ epilogue states that humans are so dumb to the extent that they can’t even realize it themselves. It’s not only disturbing but also very depressing. That said physicians should learn from their mistakes by owning up and admitting. Learning and owning up to the first minor mistake with little to no repercussion is what will make you avoid the big mistakes that might end your career.