Physicians Coping with Medical Error

To learn more about the topics presented in the PBS documentary “Choosing Wisdom”, please explore the resources below.



  1. Berlinger N. After Harm: Medical Error and the Ethics of Forgiveness. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.
  2. Bosk C. Forgive and Remember: Managing Medical Failure. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1981.
  3. Plews-Ogan M, Owens JE, May N. Choosing Wisdom: Strategies and Inspiration for Growing through Life-Changing Difficulties. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Press, 2012.
  4. Rosenthal M, Sutcliffe K (Eds.). Medical Error: What Do We Know? What Do We Do? John Wiley & Sons, 2000.
  5. Truog RD, Browning DM, Johnson JA, Gallagher TH. Talking with Patients and Families about Medical Error: A Guide for Education and Practice. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.


  1. Becker D, May NB, Plews-Ogan M. Forgive me: medical error and the poetics of forgiveness. Perspect Biol Med 2012;55:339-349.
  2. Bell SK, Moorman DW, Delbanco T. Improving the patient, family, and clinician experience after harmful events: the “when things go wrong” curriculum. Acad Med 2010;85:1010-1017.
  3. Christensen J, Levinson W, Dunn PM. The heart of darkness: the impact of perceived mistakes on physicians. JGIM 1992;7:424-431.
  4. Delbanco T, Bell S. Guilty, afraid and alone: struggling with medical error. NEJM 2007;17:1682-1684.
  5. Engel KG, Rosenthal M, Sutcliffe KM. Residents’ responses to medical error: coping, learning and change. Acad Med 2006;81:86-93.
  6. Fischer M, et al. Learning from mistakes: Factors that influence how students and residents learn from medical errors. JGIM 2006;21:419-423.
  7. Gallagher T, Lucas MH. Should we disclose harmful medical errors to patients? If so, how? JCOM 2005;12;5: 253-259.
  8. Gallagher TH, Studder LB, Levinson W. Disclosing harmful medical errors to patients. NEJM 2007;356;26: 2713-19.
  9. Gallagher TH, Waterman AD, Ebers AG, Fraser VJ, Levinson W. Patients’ and physicians’ attitudes regarding the disclosure of medical errors. JAMA 2003;289;8:1001-07.
  10. Ofri D. Ashamed to admit it: owning up to medical error. Health Affairs 2010;29:1549-1551.
  11. May N, Plews-Ogan M. The role of talking (and keeping silent) in physician coping with medical error: a qualitative study. Patient Educ Counseling 2012;88:449-454.
  12. Quirk M, Mazor K, Haley H, Philbin M, Fischer M, Sullivan K, Hatem D. How patients perceive a doctor’s caring attitude. Patient Educ Counseling 2008;72:359-366.
  13. Scott SD, Hirschinger LE, Cox KR, McCoig M, Hahn-Cover K, Epperly KM, Phillips EC, Hall LW. Caring for our own: deploying a system wide second victim rapid response team. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf 2010;36:233-40.
  14. Shannon SE, Foglia MB, Hardy M, Gallagher T. Disclosing Errors to Patients: Perspectives of Registered Nurses. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf 2009;35:5-12.
  15. Van Pelt F. Peer support: healthcare professionals supporting each other after adverse medical events. Qual Saf Healthcare 2008:17:249-252.
  16. West C, Huschka M, et al. Association of perceived medical errors with resident distress and empathy. JAMA 2006;296:1071-78.
  17. White AA, Bell SK, Krauss MJ, Garbutt J, Dunagan WC, Fraser VJ, Levinson W, Larson EB, Gallagher TH. How trainees would disclose medical errors: educational implications for training programmes. Med Educ 2011;45:372-380.
  18. Wu AW, Folkman S, McPhee SJ, Lo B. Do house officers learn from their mistakes? JAMA 1991;265:2089-2094.
  19. Wu A. Medical error, the second victim: the doctor who makes the mistake needs help, too. BMJ 2000;320:726-727.