Chapter 9. Caring for Patients Harmed by Treatment

  1. Charles Vincent Professor of Clinical Safety Research

Published Online: 18 MAY 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444323856.ch9

Patient Safety, 2nd edition

Patient Safety, 2nd edition

How to Cite

Vincent, C. (2010) Caring for Patients Harmed by Treatment, in Patient Safety, 2nd edition, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444323856.ch9

Author Information

  1. Department of Biosurgery & Surgical Technology Imperial College London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAY 2010
  2. Published Print: 25 JUN 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405192217

Online ISBN: 9781444323856



  • patients, experiencing errors during treatment;
  • caring for patients - harm through treatment;
  • injury from medical treatment - different from other injures;
  • emotional impact, complex - medical injury different from other accidents;
  • perforated bowel, series of further operations and time in hospital;
  • injured patients and their experiences;
  • Being open - patients' and physicians' attitudes to disclosing error;
  • open disclosure policies have been increasingly adopted in a number of countries;
  • healthcare staff - initiative in seeking patient and family and facing situations openly;
  • anaesthetic awareness - reducing fear of future operations


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Injury from medical treatment is different from other injures

  • The impact of medical injury

  • The experiences of injured patients and their relatives

  • What do injured patients need?

  • Being open: patients' and physicians' attitudes to disclosing error

  • Open disclosure: policy and practice

  • Barriers to open disclosure

  • Breaking the news about error and harm

  • In the longer term

  • Compassion in action

  • References