Mistakes: Surgical and Terrorist


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Mistakes, like accidents, happen. No amount of preparation, care and concentration can guarantee that mistakes will not occur so long as it is a human carrying out the task. When mistakes are made in very public instances it is not uncommon to hear someone state that ‘mistakes just can’t happen under these circumstances’. Well, they can, and they do.

A number of years ago I saw a news report about a patient in a hospital who had the wrong leg amputated. When the surgeon was supposed to remove the affected left leg, he or she erroneously lopped off the right leg. Mistakes happen. No amount of criticism is ever going to change that reality.

LegOnce this horrific mistake was made known, other patients awaiting amputations, or even less severe procedures, took to writing on their legs or arms with markers. Realizing that once they were anesthetized they would be unable to ensure which limb was to be removed, they would write NOT THIS LEG! OTHER ARM! DO NOT REMOVE! The state of unease that these patients must have felt is unimaginable.

I assume that the surgeons carrying out these amputations were well educated, sensible, smart people. Perhaps they were overworked and exhausted. Regardless mistakes happen.

With this in mind I have often pondered our situation vis a vis Canada’s proximity to The United States. The majority of Canadians live within a strip along the US/Canada border. Not on the border, but close enough.

Let me state unequivocally that I hope terrorist attacks against the US will never occur. But if they are to take place, I fear that the perpetrators will  make a mistake and hit the wrong country. This concern has been exacerbated by recent bellicose statements from Donald Trump. as there are those whose hatred of the US is so deep that I believe they take his comments as challenges. I know people personally, educated professionals, who believe that 9/11 was a matter of comeuppance. Not that, as some conspiracy theorists hold, the towers were detonated from within by government assailants. But that the US had it coming given what they perceive as an arrogance. 

I propose that we as a nation install a large notification to inform any would-be terrorists that they have the wrong target. I figure the best means of getting the message across is to use the crop circle approach of writing in summer, and snow in the winter.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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2 thoughts on “Mistakes: Surgical and Terrorist

  1. When I went into the hospital to have my knee repaired, the nurse wrote YES on the correct knee and NO on the wrong one. Just in case. Maybe Canada could do some kind of flare to make sure no one misses the border? Green means “OK to bomb here” and red means “Please don’t bomb us. We’re nice.”

  2. Generally, the Canadian flag is well recognised all around the world and is usually well received. I remember reading a travel guide that recommended American backpackers to sew the maple leaf on their backpacks instead of the American flag for their own safety.

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