Complacency and the Reasonable Standard

A friend of mine just had an MRI done, a third in a year, and was horrified by the nonchalance and ambivalence of the radiologist in reading the results. Things that were detectable in an early scan were never discussed and the early readings focused on one small area and ignored everything else. In essence, it was a drive-by MRI reading. By looking only at the first area of interest, they missed other things the first time through, only to find that the items they ignored the first time could be the truly important features a year later.

This example impressed me about how important it is to be absolutely on top of your game at all times.

Everybody has their days when they are not as sharp as others, and sometimes we catch something the second time through that we missed earlier. However, each and every case I handle can be someone’s livelihood, their career, their fortune, and their future. Granted, my work does not involve a person’s physical health, nevertheless, my clients entrust me with an important part of their lives. I don’t take this trust lightly, and I believe that each and every person for whom I work deserves the absolute best I can give.

For me it is not the fear of being sued if I make a mistake, it is a fear of not being able to live with myself if I know that I did not do the best I could have at the time. I don’t necessarily think I have to be perfect, but I have to use every piece of information I can at the time to do the best job and make the right decision at that time.

I don’t hold myself to a “reasonable” standard in my practice. There is nothing “reasonable” about doing an average job, when the client is paying for and deserves the best I can possibly produce. I suppose other people, like the radiologist reading the MRI, can somehow live with themselves when they miss something or do only a “reasonable” job. I have a hard time with that. I think the clients deserve much, much more.