- There are two kinds of doctor: those who have been involved in a serious incident and those who will be involved in a serious incident at some point in the future, sometimes as a result of their own error, and sometimes due to the circumstances under which they must carry out their work. It is usually a combination of both, and subsequently the doctor almost always feels responsible for the unintended harm caused to the patient. It is difficult to discuss this kind of experience with others. Openness requires courage, but also an environment that is prepared to listen without prejudice. These are factors that are currently by no means commonplace in the medical world. Medical professionalism is often confused with infallibility. This, however, is a dangerous illusion, it prevents health care providers learning from each other's mistakes, and so creates an obstacle to making health care safer. In this book, several well-established Dutch physicians share with us a very personal glimpse into a past they are not proud of, but one that forms an inherent part of their professionalism. They hope to contribute to a culture in which it is normal to talk constructively with each other about the darker side of healthcare, about the vulnerability and fallibility of health care providers. Openness as a medication, a form of acute care in a medical emergency. "When Healthcare Hurts" was made possible by the support of the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands, and produced in cooperation with Harry Molendijk (Centre for Patient Safety of the Isala Clinics, Zwolle), Ian Leistikow (Patient Safety Center of the UMC Utrecht) and CBO. The author, Matthijs Buikema, is a freelance journalist.