Lately I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction books related to medicine and becoming a doctor. Maybe it’s because I’m excited to go, maybe it’s because I’m bored during these massive months standing between me and going, or maybe it’s because I’m a huge nerd (Physically. I’m around 200lbs.) Whatever the case may be, they are enlightening, enthralling, exhilarating and balls scary. All of them contain some story of the author as an intern or resident fucking something up and a patient experiencing unnecessary pain, unnecessary procedures or unnecessary death. It’s not that they are inept, stupid or careless; it’s that they are human. Fallible, inconsistent, easily influenced humans. Mistakes are inevitable.
This scares the poop right out and into my pants. These honest mistakes, from good doctors, usually result from a comedy of errors where the end result is not so comical. It’s usually a case of information passing through too many hands and a tired overwhelmed intern, resident or attending overlooking or wrongly interpreting something and someone gets hurt as a result. I don’t want to hurt anyone and I’m scared poopless that I will.
Now every time I make a mistake counting my client’s reps or spilling my milk from my cereal bowl, I think, “In a few years, that milk will be someone’s blood. And for some reason I am carrying it in a bowl. And have poured frosted flakes over it. And now I’ve spilled it. And that person really needed me to carry that blood in this bowl with the frosted flakes. And now they are hurt as a result of my careless error.” Man that frightens me.