WIHI: Adverse Events and Their Aftermath: SOS from Clinicians

Date: February 4, 2010


  • Albert Wu, MD, MPH, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Linda Kenney, President and Executive Director, MITSS
  • Susan D. Scott, RN, MS(N), CLNC, Coordinator, Patient Safety, University of Missouri Health Care

Whenever there's an adverse event or medical error in health care, clinicians are affected, too. As organizations develop more accountable and transparent ways to interact with families and patients who've been harmed, the emotional and professional needs of doctors, nurses, and staff — whether directly or indirectly involved in an incident — also need to be addressed. In a 2000 essay in the BMJ, Dr. Albert Wu coined the phrase “the second victim” to put a face to the health care personnel facing loss of confidence and isolation in the aftermath of a tragic event. Now, a decade later, Dr. Wu's courage in naming a problem and his willingness to openly discuss the “private hell” that can beset even the most talented caregivers have helped many hospitals and health care organizations acknowledge the needs of their staff and create systems to support them.​​

There's not nearly enough in place...yet...but Dr. Albert Wu, along with Linda Kenney of MITSS (Medically Induced Trauma Support Services, Inc.) and Susan Scott from University of Missouri Health Care, are among those leading the way with experience and solid recommendations that can benefit all health care organizations. WIHI host Madge Kaplan welcomes the trio to the program to discuss building reliable “aftermath safety nets” for clinicians and staff when adverse events occur.


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