I Made a Mistake

Christine P. Shen, MD

I made a mistake,
in a foreign place
with people I didn't know well.

I actually made many mistakes,
missing things, running from
room to room,
chart to chart.

Histories were blurring,
to-do list growing,
triaging and blending
one patient into another.

But this one was different.
There are some mistakes with an undo,
and others
can never be undone.

10,000 hours of practice, they say,
is what it takes,
to save you.
They make it hard on purpose.

And then I knew
I had reached my limit,
of my mistake.

It wasn't your fault,
some say, people die.
But I am haunted by,
What if?

Yet I continue,
beating on relentlessly
to the next chart,
next page, patient, problem.

I am sorry.
I will surely see you again, and again
and again,
and yet each one of you, different.

Every time,
you will be with me,
reminding me that
I made a mistake.

Christine P. Shen, MD

This article was authored by Christine P. Shen, MD, a cardiology fellow at Scripps. Twitter: @iconsideritjoy.

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