Medical Errors

Experience: The Name We Give Our Mistakes

Feb. 1, 2024

Medical errors are an unfortunate, but nearly unavoidable, part of medical training and practice. The key is knowing how to turn an honest mistake into wisdom. EM educators Laura Welsh, MD, and Ivan Zvonar, MD, have some tips you can put into practice today. Join EMRA*Cast hosts Dustin Slagle, MD, and Lizzii Le, MD, for this conversation.


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Dustin Slagle, MD

NYU Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine
dustyslags on Instagram 
EMRA*Cast Episodes

Elizabeth Le, MD

Mercy Health - St. Rita's
EMRA*Cast Episodes


Laura Welsh, MD

APD, Boston Medical Center EM Residency
Editor-in-chief, EMRA’s EM Fundamentals

Ivan Zvonar, MD

Medical education fellow, University of Washington
EMRA 20 in 6 Finalist, 2021

Medical errors are an unfortunate, but nearly unavoidable, part of medical training and practice. Everyone who has ever treated patients has made a misstep at some point. Yet the isolation we feel after a simple, human error can negatively impact our growth and our ability to care for others. Support systems and built-in programs can help us when the inevitable happens, so that we bounce back stronger and more resilient than before.

Do not suffer in silence. Find a trusted colleague, friend, or mentor to help you debrief. If your program doesn't have support systems for when medical errors happen, consider starting one!


  1. Scott SD, Hirschinger LE, Cox KR, McCoig M, Brandt J, Hall LW. The natural history of recovery for the healthcare provider "second victim" after adverse patient events. Qual Saf Health Care. 2009;18(5):325-30.
  2. Zvonar I. "Errare Humanum Est: When First Do No Harm Creates a Second Victim." EMRA 20 in 6 Resident Lecture Competition Finalist. 2021.
  3. Bynum WE, Uijtdehaage S, Artino Jr AR, Fox JW. The psychology of shame: a resilience seminar for medical students. MedEdPORTAL. 2020;16:111052.
  4. Brown B. “We need to talk about shame.” TED. 2012.

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