In this medical health video meet Dr. Atul Gawande. He's a brilliant surgeon, professor and author who is not afraid to admit to his mistakes. Gawande's candor is changing the ways doctors think about improving the medical system.
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Female Speaker: From Rhodes scholar, to Harvard Medical School professor, to New Yorker staff writer, Dr. Atul Gawande is most simply described as brilliant. His brainy rock star status has made it easy for people to poke fun at him. The New York Times refers to him as tall, handsome, almost annoyingly admirable. A playfully insulting Boston, Phoenix article refers to him as a bastard. But it's neither his brilliance, nor his good looks that have garnered Gawande the most attention; it's the ease and candor with which he writes about his mistakes. Female Speaker: How common is this openness among doctors in hospitals? Dr. Atul Gawande: Well, in one level it's very common. We all have complications and we all have to talk to patients about them. We have a hard time admitting to mistakes, and there is actually very little good evidence about whether we open up as much about mistakes as we could. There is no question that doctors fear malpractice lawsuits and we let those get in our way. 97% of patients who come into a hospital will have everything go just as well as they had hoped, but 3% will have a major complication, and if we don't admit to that, we will have lost their trust. Female Speaker: It is Gawande's brutal honesty that made his first book 'Complications', a New York Times Bestseller, and has audiences flocking to readings of his latest book, 'Better'. Dr. Atul Gawande: There is a essay that I come back to again and again that I love by Samuel Gorowitz and Alasdair MacIntyre, two philosophers who wrote in the 70s, on the nature of human fallibility. And what they noted was that there are essentially two sources of fallibility in anything we do as human beings. Number one is ignorance. We have gaps, general lack of knowledge about how the world works in all of its particulars. And then the second is what they called ineptitude. Meaning that the knowledge is actually there but an individual fails to apply it correctly. What's the revolution of our world today, and this is particularly to our generation, is that ineptitude is now as much our struggle as ignorance. Female Speaker: Ignorance and ineptitude aside, Dr. Gawande's message is not one of hopelessness for the medical profession. He writes, "True success in medicine is not easy, it is an inevitably slow and difficult process. None the less, better is possible. It does not take genius, it takes diligence, it takes moral clarity, it takes ingenuity, and above all, it takes a willingness to try".

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