Student scholars and medical education leaders joined in a group discussion after watching the film that shed light on areas of opportunity in healthcare across the country. Comments touched on the over-arching failure of leadership that led to the communication breakdown in Lewis’ case and the national need to empower students, interns and nurses to ask the necessary questions to keep patients safe today. When no one is willing to say “I don’t know” the patient is at risk. Lewis and his mom, Helen Haskell, whose life’s work has become keeping all of us safe in the hospital, paid the ultimate price for the inability to exchange three simple words.
What can be done to create a culture starting in medical school that welcomes these questions, allows providers to maintain belief in their abilities while still doubting an initial diagnosis and communicate with one another openly, transparently and with respectful professionalism?