"Second victims are health care providers who are involved in an unanticipated adverse patient
event, in a medical error and/or a patient related injury and become victimized in the
sense that the provider is traumatized by the event.
Frequently, these individuals feel personally responsible for the patient outcome.
Many feel as though they have failed the patient, second guessing their clinical skills
and knowledge base."
Time lapse since the unanticipated clinical event ranged from 3 weeks to 44 months
(mean = 14 months).
Incredibly, many of the research participants provided meticulously detailed accounts
of their respective events.
Some were able to cite the exact date of the event while others provided
event-specific details such as the color of scrubs worn when the event occurred.
One of the most striking findings was that every second victim participating in the
project described their respective unanticipated clinical event as a
life-altering experience that left a lasting impression on them.
One clinician described his second victim experience as an "emotional tsunami,"
unlike anything he had ever experienced before in his professional career.
Second Victim Phenomenon