Critical Incident Response, Consultation, and Training

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Critical Incidents

Hospitals and Medical Centers
Working in a modern health system is both tremendously rewarding and challenging in the ever-changing healthcare environment. As volume and acuity increase, the daily stresses of medicine are increasing. The data shows demonstrably reduced incidents of clinical errors when stress is well managed. In addition to the daily stresses of healthcare, nurses, physicians, and other healthcare workers are sometimes exposed to rather graphic and traumatizing clinical situations. There is virtually no area of any health system that is immune from potential exposure to one or more of the following types of incidents:
Below are Critical Incidents in a Modern Health System

  • Line of duty death of a co-worker
  • Serious injury to a co-worker
  • Unexpected death of a co-worker
  • Unexpected death of a patient
  • Particularly gruesome incident
  • Dismemberment and/or large loss of blood
  • Severely burned patient
  • Incidents involving death or serious injury/illness of a young child
  • Suicide of a co-worker or a patient
  • Murder/suicide
  • Assaults on self or others
  • Explicit threats of assault on staff
  • Patient dies as a result of going AMA
  • Patient dies as a result of clinical error
  • Catastrophic medical equipment failure
  • Working under threatening conditions including WMD (e.g. biological, nuclear, incendiary, chemical, or explosive)
  • Prolonged or frequent exposure to death and dying
  • Incidents with particularly strong sensory stimuli (e.g. smell of blood)
  • Line of duty death such as police officer or firefighter
  • Knowing the patient or patient well known to staff
  • Identifying with the patient
  • Patient is similar in age/appearance to you or a loved one
  • Multiple fatalities within a short period of time
  • Prolonged resuscitation with negative outcome
  • Dealing with hysterical and demanding family members
  • Any incident that has compromised or could comprise one or more person’s ability to function

Note: If you are not certain if you or an employee in your hospital or medical center has been exposed to a critical incident, you are encouraged to contact Dr. Brown for a telephone consultation. He will help you assess the incident to determine what response might be appropriate.