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Understanding Second Victims
Recovery Stages
High Risk Scenarios
Common Second Victim Responses
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High Risk Scenarios


There are many different types of clinical events which can evoke a second victim response. Examples of high risk situations that may induce a stress response include the following:

  • Patient who 'connects' to health care professional's own family.
  • Unanticipated clinical event involving a pediatric patient.
  • Unexpected patient death.
  • Preventable harm to patient.
  • Multiple patients with bad outcomes within a short period of time within one clinical area.
  • Long term care relationship with patient death.
  • Clinician experiencing his or her first patient death.
  • Failure to detect patient deterioration in timely manner.
  • Death in a young adult patient.
  • Notification of pending litigation plans.
  • Community high-profile patient/event.
  • Health care professional who experienced needle stick exposure with high-risk patient.
  • Death of a staff member or spouse of a staff member.



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