Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Abandon the term “second victim”

Neglecting the “second victim” will not help harmed patients or improve patient safety

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 17 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2167
  1. Esperanza L Gómez-Durán, psychiatrist and forensic doctor,
  2. G Tolchinsky,
  3. C Martin-Fumadó,
  4. J Arimany-Manso
  1. Second Victim Programme and Care Programme for Sick Doctors, College of Physicians of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  1. elgomezduran{at}

Clarkson and colleagues call for abandoning the term “second victim,”1 but its introduction was good for all parties.2 It may have increased the attention given to the phenomenon, but it should in no way minimise the tragedies of patients harmed by medical errors. Patient centred care is central to the mission of healthcare professionals, who are committed to helping patients—even more so when things go wrong.

The wellbeing of healthcare professionals is crucial for a safe healthcare system and is central to patient care.3 Helping and caring for others can …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription