Tammer Elmarsafi

What is your Batting Average?

I was listening to TED Talks Toronto, Dr. Brian Goldman. He makes a very interesting analogy to baseball. In baseball, your batting average measures how good you are. A batting average of 300 means you successfully hit the ball 3/10 times. In baseball that is amazing! If your batting average is 400, that’s 4/10 and in baseball, that makes you legendary.

Patient’s would not tolerate anything less than a batting average of 1000 from their caregivers. We make mistakes, though we would like to live up to those standards. We are legendary! Not because we are perfect, but rather we are tasked with very complex problems that challenge us from every angle. Our patients are legendary! They, by default put all of their trust in our hands when they are the most naked and vulnerable.

With every patient interaction, we have the opportunity to hit home-runs, even when… Continue reading

Contemplation and Tomorrow

Perhaps, on a philosophical level, the art of introspection is what makes us able to grow and adapt. Our ability to look inwards and reflect deeply on our past and present state is in fact, a difficult task. To ask questions that poke at our core beliefs, ideologies, and take into consideration our weaknesses and strengths to promote change in ourselves is a pivotal notion.

Contemplation requires two prerequisite absolutes, in my opinion. If they are not first resolved makes the matter more of an exercise than a tool for change: Complete honesty, and the death of our egos. The inward gaze is to put a microscope to our vulnerabilities, and a magnifying glass to our faults. Certainly, this can be a painful and thus avoided art.

How the leaders in Patient Safety and Advocacy, and Quality Improvement have become great movers of the minds and hearts… Continue reading

My evolution: Informed Consent

As a intern, the endless list of daily consents that I had to complete in the midst of the 50 other tasks, made it a less than perfect process. I celebrated that fact 90% of my patients signed on the dotted line no questions asked. The most common question: What time is my surgery?

As my consents became more efficient, it made room for a more thorough discussion regarding risks; an area I was to uncomfortable to delve too deeply into. The bear necessities to make it “real.” I celebrated the fact the 90% of my patients had no concerns. The most common question regarding risk: What kind of bandage will I have?

Today, when I consent a patient, I start by saying I want you to think of 2 or 3 questions before you can sign. And I take my time. I no longer have any anxiety discussing risks,… Continue reading

The Gravity of Medical Errors

There can be nothing more grave, more profoundly unfortunate than when a medical error results in a patient’s death. I will share, what I have kept to myself for over 30 years. A story, that I feel compelled to disclose; the loss of my closest childhood friend.

My fondest childhood memories of playing hide and seek, coloring Easter eggs, and building forts with pillows and sheets under the dining room table are still vivid and cherished. Christopher was the best friend anyone could have.

I remember, I was 10 years old, answering the phone and hearing his grandmother who I loved dearly, say in a calm but shaken voice, “Christopher is dead. He died yesterday.” I was numb. I couldn’t find any words, I just hung up the phone. In fact, I didn’t utter a single word for several days. Although I don’t recall that part, my parents remind… Continue reading

Telluride Experience 2020 Dates

BRECKENRIDGE, CO:
CMF Session One*: 6/8 – 6/11
Bennathan Session Two: 6/15 – 6/18
Session Three: 6/22 – 6/25

WASHINGTON, DC/MD:
Session Four: 7/22 – 7/25

*Session exclusive to the COPIC Medical Foundation Residents.