The nature of surgical error A cautionary tale and a call to reason

  • R. M. SatavaEmail author
Surgical errors section


Errors and “patient safety” have taken on monumental importance for surgery. Like all things new, there is an initial over-reaction before a return to a balanced perspective. The current response to the global interest in error has been to seize on the latest reports that are focusing on the “systemic nature” of errors, which is also being referred to as “the new look.” There has been an unintentional ignoring of the actual error, referred to as the coface error, that the surgeon commits. It is time to put the approach to errors into perspective and redefine errors within the context of the surgical community, which can result in a balance of the surgeon’s position in regard to systemic and personal responsibility.


Common Bile Duct Cystic Duct Bile Duct Injury Latent Error Hippocratic Oath 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA-DSO)ArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Surgery University of Washington Medical Center, Box 356410SeattleUSA

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