As an empowered patient I’m willing to go to the ends of the earth to help the medical community get beyond the famed “culture of blame,” so everyone involved can learn from errors.

Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center had a wrong site incident, and responded by discussing it quite openly on the CEO’s blog. (See The Message You Hope Never To Send. As often happens in a good blog community, the extraordinary comment thread is more valuable than the post.)

I’m heartened but not surprised to learn today that Dartmouth has already made a case study of the incident.

I’m moved almost to tears by the extraordinary bravery and integrity of the people involved in the case for their willingness to openly share what happened. Were I in that position, I might fear that it could end my career. But as the comments on the original post show, a superb culture can be built in which people are willing to even be interviewed on camera about what happened, what went wrong, and how it might be prevented in the future. The world can only benefit.

My hat is off and my heart goes out to people who are so committed to building a better world, no matter what.

I suspect that the new world of participatory medicine will require much greater openness and trust all around. Praise be to the pioneers who are making it happen.

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