Elsewhere in this week’s journal, Melissa Clarkson and colleagues make a strong case for abandoning the term “second victim” when it refers to doctors involved in medical error (doi:10.1136/bmj.l1233), as they find that it promotes a mindset that is incompatible with patient safety and accountability. They say that many physicians are also uncomfortable with the term.
“There is a seductiveness to labelling yourself as a victim,” argue the authors. “Victims bear no responsibility for causing the injurious event and no accountability for addressing it . . . We know who the actual victims of medical errors are because we arranged their funerals and buried them.”
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