Brian Goldman: Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?

http://www.ted.com Every doctor makes mistakes. But, says physician Brian Goldman, medicine’s culture of denial (and shame) keeps doctors from ever talking about those mistakes, or using them to learn and improve. Telling stories from his own long practice, he calls on doctors to start talking about being wrong.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at http://www.ted.com/translate

If you have questions or comments about this or other TED videos, please go to http://support.ted.com

Duration : 0:19:30


[youtube iUbfRzxNy20]



  • On the other end of … On the other end of the spectrum; a problem is that patients expect doctors to never, ever make mistakes and are trigger happy at suing when a problem does arise. Their expectations of the medical staff treating them is excrutiating and easily leads to a culture of fear of? openly acknowledging mistakes.

  • @murfleblurg I … @murfleblurg I guess he wants people to accept medical errors as well as they accept errors in? other fields, since doctors usually do very well in their careers.

  • Doctors make one … Doctors make one mistake over a million times per year in the US when they? amputate the healthy normal foreskin of an infant who can not give consent. NOT ONE national medical association on earth endorses routine infant circumcision.

  • There is a? gap in … There is a? gap in the theory here: Goldman pegs the necessity of talking about errors on the idea that it will prevent the same mistakes from being made again. But, he also clearly sees that mistakes are simply inevitable. You can’t “memorize everything” including a flood of anecdotes about mistakes, and hope not to make any. It wasn’t not-knowing how to look for appendicitis that made him miss it, nor “remembering to remember to consider appendicitis” that would stop him from missing it again.

  • An environment that … An environment that allows self-disclosure is a good start, but the solution also need a team approach to? reduce the chance that something will be missed.

  • I have a problem … I have a problem with this comparison between medicine and baseball, simply for the fact that the outcomes from medical mistakes are potentially? catastrophic. Not so in baseball.

  • Is anyone really … Is anyone really under the illusion that doctors are infallible? Surely everybody is aware of? the risk that even a very competent doctor, as in any profession, could make an error. I suppose sick people don’t really want to accept that.

  • i used to be a chef … i used to be a chef ,i remember once saying i am glad i am not? a doctor as when i make a mistake i only burn someones meal.

  • @floatingthought Hi … @floatingthought Hi thanks for your reply and information – just one question – do you think it’s possible that we? would ever be able to improve a system like that, build it, ‘open-source’ style, connecting doctors, nurses and their ideas worldwide to figure out the variables – essentially do you think it would be possible in theory, to use a system like that to reduce the margin of error? Just in theory – obviously if so it would be worth persuing, if not then leave it alone…

  • @celshader how bout … @celshader how bout those pro anorexia sites, or those sites that help ppl kill themselves. o0o0 and those kids bullied on facebook that killed? themselves. and all those ppl addicted to that have “no life” xD

  • Excellent talk! … Excellent talk! Learning from? mistakes is such a basic part of being human, it’s almost frightening to think mistakes are buried to this extent because of shame.

  • @Narasamsa In … @Narasamsa In Canada we have some doctors who choose not to work in Hostpitals… they go work in places called CLSC which are a kind of miniature hospital for anything except major trauma. Those doctors work 40 hours a week and get paid around 50k / year. They often group together near a? pharmacy to handle more cases and do less hours in private clinics owned by them. The doctors we lose to the USA, for the pay check, are those you are talking about.

  • @ancestralblue Lets … @ancestralblue Lets take the British system. Where healthcare is provided free of charge to the entire population. The money for this system comes from the government which is in turn funded by taxes. So here it is in everyone interest to treat effectively and as cheaply as possible. Other health systems exist across the world which function in the same way. So your argument really does not? hold up. Allopathy is effective. It’s saved millions of lives, alternative medicine has not. FACT

  • @platinummediauk … @platinummediauk I’m a physician and there are some existing forms of this now. Most perform at or less than the average clinician’s judgement when studied. A problem is that the variables are too many, and we don’t know them all. Experts, physicians in this case, thin slice (Ref.? Blink by M. Gladwell). They use the information they say they use, and then some more information they might not know their using (based on circumstances, experience, trends, stereotypes… etc.). I hope this helps

  • @ancestralblue … @ancestralblue That’s what this video is about that people and medicine makes mistakes but if you look statistically this medicine works never mind what your narrow mind believes. Here’s the fact for you, average life expectancy used to be 30 years back in egyptian days, now it’s over 60. Do you still think their wisdom and methods were? better even tho they knew to nothing about human anatomy and chemistry involved? Why than they had twice as short life expectancy?

  • You would think by … You would think by now I’d have learned my lesson about scrolling down? lower than the video frame…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>