Time and time again, medical errors and bad outcomes get traced back to failure of communication. Today, the story of Michael Skolnik illustrated how lack of honest and transparent communication between a surgeon and the young man who, along with his family, entrusted his life to him resulted in a devastating brain injury that left him forever disabled and his family forever scarred. It truly is tragic to think that an honest open conversation could have avoided all of this.
In a different way, our teeter-totter activity illustrated how great things can be accomplished when teams embrace the concept of “barrierless communication” emphasized in the book “Why Hospitals Should Fly”. By having every team member, each with a unique perspective, share their thoughts freely and openly with one another, we were finally able to succeed as a whole in a task that appeared so daunting not much earlier. After all, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” only rings true if the parts are indeed united.