TRUST: Five Human Rights of Second Victims of Medical Errors

March 14, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System


The healthcare industry has a “moral imperative to change this culture of abandonment, isolation, and punishment of second victims to a culture that provides accessible and effective support,” according to an article in the February issue of Nursing2012. Healthcare personnel experience “emotional turmoil” even in the absence of errors (e.g., when a patient dies); when they are involved in an error that leads to a patient’s death or serious injury, they may suffer “complex psychological harm,” the author writes. Involvement in a medical error affects healthcare workers’ professional, social, and private lives. Therefore, healthcare organizations should establish support initiatives for second victims, the article states. Staff must be informed of available resources, know how to access them, and be willing to accept help.

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