When doctors make mistakes.
Gawande uses a harrowing personal example of a medical error to illustrate that medical mistakes are not a problem of bad physicians. He contends that virtually everyone who cares for hospitalized patients will make serious mistakes every year. Gawande attacks the current medical malpractice system, stating that it creates an environment of silence and fear and makes patients and physicians adversaries. He describes the current forum used by physicians to process medical errors, the Morbidity and Mortality Conference, and points out that its major limitation is highlighting individual error, not the process or system that allowed or led to the error. Gawande outlines the steps taken by the field of anesthesia to analyze errors and find remedies for system failure.