Some say that Dr. Brian Goldman helped to change the medical industry with his Ted Talk about how doctors make mistakes, taking a huge risk exposing one of the most known and rarely discussed topics: how doctors make mistakes and kill patients.
When was the last time you heard somebody talk about failure after failure after failure? Oh yeah, you go to a cocktail party and you might hear about some other doctor, but you’re not going to hear somebody talking about their own mistakes…
…On my show, on “White Coat, Black Art,” I made it a habit of saying, “Here’s my worst mistake,” I would say to everybody from paramedics to the chief of cardiac surgery, “Here’s my worst mistake,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, “What about yours?” and I would point the microphone towards them. And their pupils would dilate, they would recoil, then they would look down and swallow hard and start to tell me their stories. They want to tell their stories. They want to share their stories. They want to be able to say, “Look, don’t make the same mistake I did.” What they need is an environment to be able to do that. What they need is a redefined medical culture. And it starts with one physician at a time.
The redefined physician is human, knows she’s human, accepts it, isn’t proud of making mistakes, but strives to learn one thing from what happened that she can teach to somebody else. She shares her experience with others. She’s supportive when other people talk about their mistakes. And she points out other people’s mistakes, not in a gotcha way, but in a loving, supportive way so that everybody can benefit. And she works in a culture of medicine that acknowledges that human beings run the system, and when human beings run the system, they will make mistakes from time to time. So the system is evolving to create backups that make it easier to detect those mistakes that humans inevitably make and also fosters in a loving, supportive way places where everybody who is observing in the health care system can actually point out things that could be potential mistakes and is rewarded for doing so, and especially people like me, when we do make mistakes, we’re rewarded for coming clean.
My name is Brian Goldman. I am a redefined physician. I’m human. I make mistakes. I’m sorry about that, but I strive to learn one thing that I can pass on to other people. I still don’t know what you think of me, but I can live with that.
We all make mistakes. The mistakes bloggers make rarely risk lives, but they may impact lives, changing opinions, perspectives, attitudes, and influencing life decisions.
Your blog exercise today is to share a mistake with your readers.
I will use Dr. Goldman’s words to explain this exercise better.
If I can’t come clean and talk about my mistakes, if I can’t find the still-small voice that tells me what really happened, how can I share it with my colleagues? How can I teach them about what I did so that they don’t do the same thing?
Your blog exercise today is to share a mistake with your readers with the intent of helping them not make the same mistake.
Be clear and specific, no excuses.
This is a chance to connect with your readers in a fresh way, with honesty.
After Dr. Goldman’s Ted Talk, one that he presented with a great deal of anxiety and fear, he was overwhelmed by the positive response. People came out publicly with their mistakes, sharing how they were now opening up and sharing their own mistakes, helping others learn from them.
This is your chance to do the same.