Medical error. Ratings

In 1983, Neil MacIntyre, a professor of medicine, and Karl Popper, a philosopher, wrote an article entitled “A Critical View of Medicine: The Need for a New Ethics.” I translate the first sentences: “In medicine, as in other professions, mistakes happen. Sometimes the consequences are trivial, but often they are serious, and sometimes they can be catastrophic. A way must be found to correct the errors; Unfortunately, in many cases the damage is irreversible. The only benefit that can be gained from a mistake is to avoid it in the future.”

The topic of “medical errors” is a fascinating one. This is true, because it is always necessary to see a doctor. For example, even mothers who give birth to their children with the help of midwives poverty, out of principle or distrust of doctors, sooner or later they will require the help of a pediatrician for their sons/daughters. For convenience, here are some thoughts:

1. Errare humanum est is an old great idea. Everyone knows this: Humans tend to make mistakes. Learning from mistakes is very important.

2. In Latin, the original expression reads: Errare humanum est, sed perseverare diabolicum, an adequate and reasonable concept: “To err is human, but to persist in error is diabolical.” Medical school should be that idea.

3. Do not be stubborn, i.e. “remaining firm in one’s behavior, attitude, ideas, or intentions despite punishment, warnings, or advice” is extremely important in medicine (and in life).

4. There are three sources of learning and growth in medicine: books, patients, experience. Young doctors drink from everything: from books and magazines, theory; patients thanks to the clinic, whose etymological origin comes from the Greek “bedside nursing”, and through experience, thanks to the teaching of teachers. Those who adhere to this triad make fewer mistakes.

5. Criticism is a beautiful word. From the Greek krinen it means “able to discern” as well as “to divide, decide, judge.” He who submits to criticism grows. You improve through your successes and progress when you reflect on your mistakes. In medicine, criticism is necessary.

6. An old practice in medicine is the presentation of clinical cases. It is very important to notice mistakes and comment on them. Criticism must be harsh. Nepotism should be kept to a minimum when discussing medical errors.

7. Reporting bugs is ethical. Covering them – no. Making mistakes in medicine and looking for ways to solve them is a matter of medical ethics. Nowadays such an attitude is rare. It takes away loyalty to colleagues, to the hospital, to the economy – “you send me patients, I send you patients” – and to drug companies, rather than to the truth.

8. Medical professionalism: “The unwritten contract between physicians and society, the purpose of which is the good practice of medicine, compassion and empathy…” must be strengthened. Professionalism adds self-criticism and ethics. Doctors who are attentive to criticism are self-critical; Self-critical doctors adhere to ethical principles.

9. Doctors should be loyal to their patients. There are no double standards.

Errors in medicine are common. Mitigation of mistakes depends on a self-critical attitude, ability to respond to criticism and ability to listen to patients and colleagues. Medical ethics are strengthened when such relationships are added to the mix.

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