Quality & Patient Safety

The second victim: Supporting staff members after a medical error

Patient Safety Monitor, June 1, 2008

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Emotional needs often remain unmet

It has been almost a decade since Linda Kenney went into surgery to have her ankle replaced and ended up going into cardiac arrest and having her chest opened. Since then, she’s dealt with a range of emotions, from shock to depression to thankfulness for being alive today.

It wasn’t until she had made it through the seemingly impossible first year after the incident that she began to consider how the clinicians involved in her case might be feeling. Kenney’s specific case involved an error during anesthesia. “I was thinking, ‘If I’m this emotionally distraught, I can just imagine how [the anesthesiologist] must be feeling,’ ” she says, adding that her medical error was barely discussed with her while she was in the hospital, highlighting the stigma regarding such events.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Patient Safety Monitor.

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