One Mistake is OK

Last week I attended a book festival lecture by best-selling author, Jennifer Weiner. True to her long list of works, she kept the audience in stitches. However, her latest release – All Fall Down – takes on a more serious topic. While mixing humor and tragedy, Jennifer Weiner uncovers the hidden world of drug addiction in mainstream society.

It all starts with one mistake – a few extra painkillers for that persistent pain. But as availability and cost become an issue over time, an average housewife may turn to less expensive street drugs such as heroin and methamphetamines. As I listened to Jennifer Weiner, I realized this sad tale could apply to so many things in life. We all make mistakes. The key is to recognize the mistake and prevent it from becoming a series of mistakes.

One of my mentors often said that good surgeons are judged by how they handle mistakes. One mistake during an operation can almost always be corrected if recognized and handled appropriately. Experience, careful attention, and a calm demeanor are necessary to ensure a safe outcome.

Think about it.  We live by this premise every day. As a husband, father, and physician, Jennifer Weiner’s perspective inspired me to reflect on human imperfection.