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Editor's Commentary on 'Close Calls: Mistakes and Mentorship in the ICU'

 , June 27, 2014

First, do no harm. This simple mantra has been handed down through medical history and defines an important aim of medicine. The goal of the physician is to fix patients, but if we cannot fix them, we ought not make them worse. In this week’s article “Close Calls” by Dr. Timothy Lahey, we follow an insecure medical trainee as he performs an invasive procedure on his patient. With a flick of the wrist, he had accidentally perforates the vein and collapses the patient’s lung. This story highlights the everlasting tension between healing patients and training physicians. Every thoughtful physician has had moments of doubt and guilt when a patient is harmed during his training. But we cannot quit… We must take care of today’s patients while preparing the next generation of physicians for future patients. While we look for a solution, the show must go on. 

Bryan Sisk, MD
Deputy Editor, The Living Hand