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Errors and matters of judgment

Even good doctors make mistakes

Self-serving bias and excessive self-blame

Close up of concerned-looking senior male physicianSome people consider their successes to always result from their own strengths or personal factors, but deny responsibility for their failures, attributing such failures to situational factors beyond their control. This is self-serving bias.

Think about it

Have you met anyone like this?

Self-reflection is a constructive response to an adverse event (accident in Québec) and can stimulate learning and improvement. However, a common response to unexpected outcomes among physicians is excessive self-blame and censure, an exaggerated sense of responsibility for poor patient outcomes that in reality are beyond the physician's control.

From a court judgment:
"Dr. A is obviously a highly skilled gynecologist who treats his patients with great care and success. His patients are lucky to be under his care ... My impression is that he viewed this accident from the perspective of a perfectionist."