My Greatest Mistake

Thanks to the experienced patient

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7480.1495 (Published 16 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1495
  1. Milind M Deshpande, consulting orthosurgeon1 (milinddeshpande{at}sancharnet.in)
  1. 1 Hubli, India 580031

    It was my first week in the postgraduate MS(Ortho) course. I had already seen my senior apply plaster of Paris slabs to injured limbs and was overconfident of doing the act independently. I was sent to the casualty on my first weekend to splint an injured arm. As I started applying the plaster of Paris slab, the patient pointed out that previously he had an injury to the other arm and a similar plaster was applied, but over a cotton padding and not over the bare limb. I immediately realised my mistake and felt so ashamedabout my overconfidence—but I told the patient that if he was more comfortable with a cotton padding inside I would definitely apply it, and I quickly removed the plaster that was on his arm, cleaned it up, and reapplied the slab over a cotton padding. The experienced patient had taught me my first lesson over my first weekend, or else it might have been the last weekend for me and my senior.

    Footnotes

    • Competing interests None declared.

    • True confessions

      In October Minerva asked readers to submit their tales of clinical, career, or other mistakes, for publication in this issue. First to respond were Dave Sackett and Richard Smith, followed by others, some of whose confessions are printed below. You can see all the responses and add your own contribution on bmj.com (http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/329/7474/DC3)

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