Adverse Events & Complaints – the Second Victim

Various international studies have identified that between 3-16% of hospitalised patients experience an adverse event. Ireland is no different with a guestimate adverse event rate of  13.8%. If a patient suffers harm or an unexpected outcome it can impact on you as their doctor, pharmacist or dentist. It is important not to ignore your own emotional care. No healthcare professional is immune to being involved in such an event.

An adverse event can range from a minor incident to near misses as well as major and catastrophic incidents where a patient has died or has sustained a major disability. In the aftermath of an incident  (it does not have to necessarily be a major incident) or a complaint  it can impact negatively on mental health with feelings of incompetence, isolation, and guilt to name but a few. It is important that such feelings do not fester and develop further.

Talking with a professional in a confidential setting can help with processing the perfectly normal reactions of being involved in an adverse/ critical event.