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Feb 2012

Learning From Our (My) Mistakes: The 2010 American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Foundation Lecture

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2012;130(2):240-242. doi:10.1001/archopthalmol.2011.1288

The French surgeon René Leriche wrote, “Every surgeon carries a little cemetery where he goes to pray, a cemetery of bitterness and regret, where he seeks the reason for his failures.”1 In this lecture, I will show you a few of the many gravestones in my cemetery. Before we enter, I’ll give you the take-home message of what I’ve learned from my mistakes. When errors happen, they consistently seem to be related to one or more of the following: objective or technical failures, usually rooted in ignorance; subjective or human failures, often rooted in arrogance; and failures related to what I’ll simply call, for now, factor C. Watch for these themes as we look at my worst outcomes, by my own hand or under my supervision.