Journal Article

The heart of darkness: the impact of perceived mistakes on physicians.

Christensen JF, Levinson W, Dunn PM. Journal of general internal medicine. 1992;7:424-31.

The authors interviewed 11 general internists and medical subspecialists concerning medical mistakes they had made in the past and the impact on their lives. Interviews were qualitatively analyzed. The interviews revealed that mistakes are rather ubiquitous in clinical practice and often significantly influence future physician practice and confidence. The study also found that disclosure of mistakes to colleagues, family, and friends was rare, and physicians often felt emotionally isolated in coping with perceived mistakes. The authors support more open discussion of medical mistakes in medical training and practice.