“There’s Nothing You Can Do That I Haven’t Done Before.” #1

My fellow once told me a story about how after she made a terrible operative mistake, she went to talk to her mentor. The mentor, before she started, told her that there was no mistake she could make that he hadn’t already made. Because while mistakes shouldn’t happen, they do. And in the act of growing, they must. This series is not to make excuses or say it’s fine, but rather a way to share that vulnerability and acceptance.


Level 2 Trauma. I run through my list in my head.

Gown. Log In. Sticker. Blankets. Add to List. Orders. Start Note. Exposure.

“Do everything the same way every time.”

I was ready. Not a pro yet, but after my first 3-4 traumatic trauma shifts, I was getting into the flow of things. Not only that, but now I had brand new trauma shears that could cut anything. And when that L2 came in, I ran through that same list I had gotten good at. Automatic.

Except the exposure part. My trauma shears could cut anything and they did. Right through the blood pressure cuff. No one noticed until the BP couldn’t be measured and the tech traced the wire back to the clean slice I had made.

No one laughed or stopped to gawk at my mistake. Except my attending and me. He looked right at, holding the two ends of my over-zealousness up and coolly told me, “Next time, it’ll be an LVAD wire.”

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