“To Err is Human”

“To Err is Human”

Humans are not perfect; in fact, "to err is human", right [1]? That said, there are some professions where errors are not as accepted, and one of them is our own EMS. When we make mistakes, people commonly die as a result; and in at least one study, it is listed as the number three leading cause of death in the United States [2]. This is unacceptable on any level. There is no doubt in my mind. 

As I sift through the research, I commonly find ways to error-proof systems and improve processes through quality control, yet in the end, the result still seems to be the same.

As a paramedic, I have made my fair share of errors, I am sure of it, but as I work to hone my skills I try and look for ways to reduce the mistakes I make. One way I have discovered is the use of closed-loop communication. This technique has, in many instances, prevented me from administering an incorrect dosage of medication. This is wonderful. However, this epidemic is not going to be resolved with just parroting medication dosages back to my partner. 

What is the fix? Is this a cultural issue? Or is it human nature, and the quote “to err is human” is the way it is? No, I cannot accept that. We have got to do better and find a way to prevent deaths from medical errors. 

This is possibly the most redundant blog I have ever written, but it also one of the most concerning because I do not have an answer.

What are your thoughts?