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The victims of patient safety incidents

Patient safety incidents can produce harm to the patients which were over the years subject of numerous studies to access the impact of such occurrences to their lives, as well as it’s causes and the economic burden of the problem.

In recent years it started to be recognized that not only the patients and their families suffer with safety-related problems, so we can consider three types of victims: 

  • First victims – the patients that suffer healthcare-associated harm and their families and friends.
  • Second victims – the health professionals involved in an unanticipated adverse patient event, in a medical error and/or a patient related injury and become traumatized by the event. 1 
  • Third victims – the healthcare organisations who could suffer loss of reputation, depending on how the situation is handled by the institutional leaders.2 This issue has been briefly explored so far, so it is a new field for research.

  1. Scott SD, Hirschinger LE, Cox KR, McCoig M, Hahn-Cover K, Epperly KM, et al. Caring for our own: Deploying a systemwide second victim rapid response team. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2010;36(5):233–40. 
  2. Denham CR. TRUST: The 5 rights of the second victim. J Patient Saf. 2007;3(2):107–19. 

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