“An error the breadth of a single hair can lead one a thousand miles astray.” With this Chinese proverb, Steven Evans introduces his study concerning surgical pitfalls. In his first chapter, “From Error to Perfection: The Process of Surgical Maturation,” Evans proposes “error training during skills acquisition.” His argument is that errors are predictable for a given skill. If these errors are preemptively recognized as the surgeon learns a skill or operation, the errors are less apt to become durable. Evans' interest in writing a text on surgical complications stems from his residents' response to an article he coauthored in the Archives of Surgery entitled “A Stepwise Approach to Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication: Avoiding Technical Pitfalls.” Evans' residents suggested to him that every procedure in general surgery could be broken down in this stepwise approach to avoiding pitfalls.
Kacey DJ. Surgical Pitfalls: Prevention and Management. JAMA. 2010;303(7):672-673. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.145