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Patient and family emotional harm after medical errors may be profound. At an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) conference to establish a research agenda on this topic, the authors used visual images as a gateway to personal reflections among diverse stakeholders. Themes identified included chaos and turmoil, profound isolation, organizational denial, moral injury and betrayal, negative effects on families and communities, importance of relational skills, and healing effects of human connection. The exercise invited storytelling, enabled psychological safety, and fostered further collaborative discussion. The authors discuss implications for quality/safety, educational innovation, and qualitative research.


Gaufberg, E., Olmsted, M.W. & Bell, S.K. J Med Humanit (2019).