Three of the worst words in medicine are "Do you remember?" Do you remember that patient you sent home the other day? All physicians have heard these words. It makes our hearts race. It fills our psyche with fear and anxiety. Did I do something wrong? Did my patient suffer? Was their harm preventable? Medical care will always have errors. Mistakes are inevitable. Dr Brian Goldman gives this excellent TED talk about changing the culture of denial (and shame) in healthcare.
My personal view? A culture of excellence is defined not by providing great care but rather in how we respond to the times when we don't. We don't need The Joint Commission telling us how to make ourselves better. We owe it to our patients to take the lead and do everything in our power to bat 0.400. We owe it to our patients to be legends on their behalf. The question I have is, "What's holding us back?" Why do we need outsiders policing us into submission when it's our responsibility to lead. I think, in general, medical training has perpetrated a culture of denial that has been building for decades. Changing the inertia over night will take a monumental shift in perception by all of us. But It really can be that easy.