Prolonged mental health sequelae among doctors and nurses involved in patient safety incidents with formal complaints and lawsuits

Eur J Public Health. 2020 Aug 1;30(4):777-779. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckz138.


We evaluated the presence of prolonged mental health sequelae in the aftermath of a patient safety incident and the impact of a formal complaint or lawsuit on these mental health sequelae in 19 hospitals and 2635 nurses and doctors. Of 2635 respondents, 983 (37.3%) reported a complaint and 190 (7.2%) reported a lawsuit. In both doctors and nurses prolonged mental health sequelae reflecting a stressor-related disorder were highly prevalent, each well over 20% overall. They were consistently more prevalent in case of a formal complaint or lawsuit. Lawsuits showed 2-, 3- and 4-fold increases in prevalence of mental health sequelae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Nurses*
  • Patient Safety
  • Physicians*