Make no mistake
Everybody makes mistakes. But those made by doctors tend to have more severe consequences than most. Consider the story of Gary Brandeland, discussed in this month’s Careers article, Making a mistake (p 26). Twenty years ago, his patient—Joy—died after a caesarean section in which the nurse anaesthetist intubated her oesophagus and forgot to attach a pulse oximeter. This doubtless changed things irrevocably for Joy’s family, but Brandeland’s life was also changed. “To this day, I’m still amazed at how other people’s lives just continued as if this event never happened,” he wrote.
In our article on p 18, four senior doctors write about errors they’ve made while caring for their patients. They focus on what they learnt from their mistakes. Simon Eccles writes, “Within two weeks of my first registrar post, I’d made an error that nearly cost my patient her life . . . My biggest lesson was that