Dr. Goldman asks if you know your surgeon's "batting average" of operations with good outcomes. He mentions the three words you never want to hear: "Do you remember?" It's a good TED talk:
Every doctor makes mistakes (just like everyone does). But, says Dr. Goldman, medicine's culture of denial (and shame) keeps doctors from ever talking about those mistakes, or using them to learn and improve. Telling stories from his own long practice, he calls on doctors to start talking about being wrong.
Here are some simple steps to avoid medical errors from a patient's perspective (source: CNN):
1. Say: "My name is Mary Smith, my date of birth is October 21, 1965, and I'm here for an appendectomy."
2. Say: "Please check my ID bracelet."
3. Say: "Please look in my chart and tell me what procedure I'm having."
4. Say: "I want to mark up my surgical site with the surgeon present."
5. Be impolite (this particular piece of advice is obviously controversial).
CNN video: Steps to avoid medical errors