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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Medical error: the second victim.

Wu AW. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 2000;320:726-7.

This editorial coined the term "second victim" to describe clinicians who commit errors, acknowledging the significant emotional impact that errors can have on the clinicians involved. Subsequent research has shown that involvement in an error adversely affects providers' emotional health and job satisfaction, and increases risk of burnout. Inspired by these findings, organizations have now developed innovative approaches for supporting second victims, primarily through encouraging debriefing and open discussion of errors. An AHRQ WebM&M commentary discusses the effect of committing a wrong-site procedure error on a resident physician.