Checklists: They help surgeons, journalists and Van Halen prevent errors
January 6, 2011 by Steve Buttry
I’ve been pleased with the response to my accuracy checklist. I want to call your attention to two follow-ups by Craig Silverman and Stephen Colbert:
- Craig, who inspired my checklist, responded with a call for journalists to send him their checklists. Send him a photo of your checklist (I sent mine) and you will get a copy of his book Regret the Error.
- OK, I may have been behind Craig in following checklists, but I’m ahead of Colbert. His guest last night (day after my blog post — coincidence? Or a measure of the Buttry influence?) was Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto (a book Craig has written about). Gawande’s a surgeon and discusses the importance of checklists to prevent errors and complications in surgery. But you really want to hear the story of how
Eddie Van HalenDavid Lee Roth uses a checklist that includes M&M’s and prevents errors. Best Colbert line: “If we never make mistakes, we can never learn from our mistakes.”
Update: When you blog about accuracy, you are almost foredoomed to make a stupid error yourself. My computer was buffering when I played the Stephen Colbert video below, and I missed the mention of David Lee Roth at the opening of the Van Halen anecdote mentioned below. I heard references to “him” and “Van Halen” (their band’s name) and apparently thought I had heard Eddie Van Halen. (Insert your own joke here about accuracy checklist author making assumptions.) Thanks to Ivan Oransky for pointing out the error of my ways. And please, watch the video. I hope it doesn’t buffer too much.