I have never killed a patient.
I've had patients die on me many, many times, but I've never been involved in a situation where I felt that I did something (or didn't do something) that caused premature death. Every time I cross covered the hospital as an intern, I would pray to get through the night without harming anyone. I know a lot of doctors who haven't been so lucky though. Recently, another doctor was telling me about how in residency he gave a little old lady 2 mg of Ativan and she never woke up, and he felt guilty about it all the time.
They say that there are 2 kinds of doctors: those who have killed a patient and those who will kill a patient. (I think I heard that on Scrubs.)
I'm hoping that as a physiatrist, it won't happen to me. Now that residency is over, I actively try to avoid situations where I could end up being responsible for a death. Yet another reason why I couldn't have become an OB/GYN: how could you deliver a dead baby (inevitable) and not blame yourself for the rest of your life?
I've heard a lot of stories of doctors who felt responsible for the death of a patient and subsequently ended their career. When I did pediatrics, I heard about an attending who missed a case of appendicitis and the child died. The pediatrician quit medicine, even though the mother didn't blame him and continued sending her other kids to the practice.
It's a hard job. Please don't tell us we're overpaid.