Why doctors should own up to their medical mistakes

Surgical tools
Surgical tools in a hospital in a 2006 file photo.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Doctors make mistakes but are reluctant to own up to their errors, says Dr. Brian Goldman, a veteran ER physician. Goldman says doctors' reluctance to discuss mistakes leads to more errors that harm patients and damages the culture of medicine in the U.S.

In a 1999 report The Institute of Medicine said almost 100,000 people die each year in the U.S. from preventable medical mistakes; a 2009 report from the Heart Corporation puts the number at 200,000. Would talking about mistakes bring that number down? How would our health care system change if doctors were more open with the mistakes they inevitably make?

Goldman, author of The Night Shift: Real Life in the Heart of the ER, joins The Daily Circuit on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Here's his recent Ted talk:

Also on the program: David Goldhill, author of Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father--and How We Can Fix It.


How American health care killed my father (The Atlantic)

Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that? (Ted talk)