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Journal Article > Commentary
Wu AW. BMJ. 2000;320:726-727.
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.
Journal Article > Study
The second victim experience and support tool: validation of an organizational resource for assessing second victim effects and the quality of support resources.
Burlison JD, Scott SD, Browne EK, Thompson SG, Hoffman JM. J Patient Saf. 2017;13:93-102.
The second victim phenomenon—the damaging psychological impacts of errors on the clinicians who are involved—has been well documented in the literature. This study presents the development and validation of a survey tool to examine clinicians' experiences with errors and evaluate the effectiveness of approaches to aid second victims.
Journal Article > Review
Srinivasa S, Gurney J, Koea J. JAMA Surg. 2019;154:451-457.
As many as half of all clinicians may be involved in a serious adverse event during their career, and these events may have profound professional consequences. This systematic review examined the effect of patient complications on surgeons' well-being. Patient complications had significant adverse consequences for surgeons' emotional health, to which surgeons responded with coping mechanisms ranging from adaptive (discussing cases with colleagues or utilizing professional support) to maladaptive (alcohol or substance use). Studies reported varying perceptions of institutional support. Many surgeons derived benefit from the support of trusted mentors or senior colleagues after a serious patient complication, but lack of formal organizational support was commonly noted. Surgeons reported taking various corrective actions after a complication, such as personal development and system-level quality improvement efforts. The authors make several recommendations for helping surgeons after complications, including developing formal structures to aid surgeons in the coping process. Books by British neurosurgeon Dr. Henry Marsh and patient safety leader Dr. Atul Gawande explore the professional and personal consequences of adverse events in vivid detail.