Talking of editing, I can’t seem to turn that part of my brain off, even when I’m studying. I have lost count of the basic grammatical and spelling errors in my textbook. My brain irritatingly picks each one up and comments on things when I’m reading, like, could have used a comma there… Or, whoops, they missed the ‘s’ off that word…
So, it wasn’t hugely surprising to me when I came up with an actual, concerning error. I was reading about blood types, and it made mention to being able to donate AB-type red blood cells (RBCs) to A, B, and AB-type recipients. I won’t explain here about the intricacies of blood donation and who can donate to whom, but suffice to say if you transfuse AB-type RBCs to anyone other than AB-type recipients, you could cause death within 7-12 days by a severe hemolytic transfusion reaction. So, being in a textbook, this was quite nerve-racking to me.
On one hand, was the information actually wrong? If it wasn’t, then I’d been incorrectly checking blood for years, which when you work in the operating rooms, seems like a rather hazardous thing to do. I started doubting myself. After hunting through several other textbooks, and surfing multiple sites, I thankfully discovered that I hadn’t completely lost my mind, and this one sentence was in fact, wrong.
So I emailed the editor.
Yes, I actually looked up the editor, found her university email, and wrote about how I was rather concerned at this mistake. I was pleased to learn that they had in fact already found the error and corrected it in the upcoming edition, and she was very encouraging, kind, and thankful to me for pointing it out (even though it had already been corrected). Overall, I feel happy that I got in touch. But the older I get, the more I begin to realize that even the most legitimate sources of information are not always correct. It highlights the pivotal need in cross-referencing all information, so you can be sure that fact is indeed fact, and not fiction.