Observing more senior physicians, students learn that their mentors and supervisors believe in, practice and reward the concealment of errors. They learn how to talk about unanticipated outcomes until a ‘mistake’ morphs into a ‘complication.’ Above all, they learn not to tell the patient anything.
By far the most famous headline error in U.S. history, the “Dewey Defeats Truman” banner appeared in the Chicago Tribune on November 3, 1948 – the day after Harry Truman was reelected president of the United States. The article went on to state that Dewey “won a sweeping victory in the presidential election yesterday,” a claim that dovetailed with nationwide polling suggesting that a Dewey win was “inevitable.” In reality, Truman won the electoral vote by 303 to 189. He was photographed holding a copy of the Tribune at the train station in St. Louis, Missouri, on his way back to the nation’s capital for his second term.