Journal Article
Review

Psychological and psychosomatic symptoms of second victims of adverse events: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Busch IM; Moretti F; Purgato M; Barbui C; Wu AW; Rimondini M.

The second victim phenomenon refers to the emotional impact adverse events and patient harm can have on health care team members, including physicians and nurses. This meta-analysis sought to quantify psychological and psychosomatic symptoms experienced by second victims. Researchers identified 18 studies and found that embarrassment, guilt, regret, self-recrimination, anxiety, fear of future errors, reliving the incident, and difficulty sleeping were the most common symptoms. These results underscore how involvement in errors can have detrimental consequences for provider well-being. The authors recommend both preventive programs and postevent support for health care workers after medical errors. A PSNet interview with Albert Wu, who coined the term second victim, discussed approaches to address this safety issue.