Attending the Telluride Experience is important to me because through my experiences in medicine I have learned that medical errors are inevitable. In the belief that the medical world is a utopia, I had a difficult time wrapping my head around imperfection in medicine. Grappling with the thought of entering a field that is laden with medical errors, I found it difficult to rationalize becoming a physician. I found myself constantly asking the wrong questions: how do I stop errors from happening? Whereas I should really be asking what can I do work through these errors. Developing the skills to overcome these errors and avoid severe consequences is vital.
After learning about the countless medical errors cited in our readings, I was flabbergasted by the gravity of poor communication that led to countless deaths. Cases such as Lewis Blackman’s highlight the importance of creating a culture of safety. In the book, The Wall of Silence, we are introduced to drastic medical errors that have left families devastated. As I read this book, I could not fathom how family members felt as their loved ones suffered the consequences of medical errors. However, reading Why Hospitals Should Fly gave me hope that we can still implement strategies to develop a hospital like St. Michaels.
Patient safety is integral to good patient care because with less errors, we can promote better health outcome for patients and reduce medical costs. There are innovative methods being used to prevent medical errors such as implementing time-outs before surgery and verifying patient information before giving medications but I believe that there needs to be a greater focus on remedying the errors. As medical professionals we are taught “First, to do no harm” but in a career that is focused on people we must also take into account that to err is human. I have gathered that effective communication and collaboration are vital to promote a culture of safety but I am looking forward to emerging myself in activities that teach me how to apply the skills to remedy medical mistakes.