Just made the first medical error of my career. Though not fatal, I have been feeling terribly upset, disturbed and appalled with myself since.
I know medical mistakes are bound to happen. It’s inevitable for every doctor. But the feeling of incompetence is hard to take. I just have to learn, get over it and move on. It has been a long time since I made a mistake.
My senior doctor called twice to reassure me that it’s ok it’s normal and part of the risks of the procedure. I must have sounded aghast over the phone. I rang my friends and they did their part of reassuring me.
The only positive thing out of this whole event was probably me being able to keep calm to manage the situation acutely before paging the senior doctors. I probably turned very pale; I could feel the blood draining from my face at that point of time – doesn’t happen too often I can tell you.
Shit. I think all along I must have believed I could avoid making mistakes by being very careful. Now I know that’s impossible. You can be the best and the most careful, but shit can still fall on your head. Jeez.
Next time if I am having difficulty, perhaps it is better to risk being yelled at for not trying hard enough (and deemed incompetent) than to cause a complication from trying too hard? But even then that sounds wrong. Really it is all a balance of mistakes and good calls.
Although I loathe to say this but it is probably good that this happened so early on in my career. Better to learn now than through a calamity as a senior doctor.
Also I am very surprised by the support offered to me from my senior doctor who is usually very strict with me. She even started thinking of the mistakes she had done in the past and relating them to me just so I won’t feel alone. I was very touched by her gestures.
Anyway time to get over it. Medicine is all about taking risks. I have to live with some of the consequences. Sucks to be the patient but falling sick is never fun.