Health Many victims of medical failures suffer from PTSD

Many victims of medical failures suffer from PTSD


More frequent problems

“A new longitudinal population study shows that they are much more likely to suffer from mental, work-related, financial, religious and legal problems than others,” says Tilburg University. The research was conducted by CentERdata, Victim Support Fund, VU University Amsterdam and Tilburg University (NETHLAB).

More than half have problems

About 56% of the victims of medical errors suffer from one or more psychological, work-related, religious, relational, financial or legal problems, the research shows. In adults who have not experienced these or other potentially traumatic events, this is 19%. The fact that those affected after medical errors have more problems cannot be attributed to problems prior to these far-reaching experiences; the statistical analyzes take into account, inter alia, the influence of these existing problems, including existing physical problems.

4,700 participants

Scientific literature pays great attention to medical errors, but a very small number of studies focus on the problems victims of medical errors face. Approximately 4,700 people participated in the survey among the Dutch population in 2018 and in 2019. Between 2018 and 2019, 79 participants fell victim to medical errors and 2,828 participants did not experience any potentially traumatic events during this period.

Victims followed for years

This is the first study, also from an international perspective, which investigated the extent to which problems among these victims are more common than with others. It is also the first study in which victims were followed for a year to see what problems they are facing. The results show that the care of victims of medical errors should not be limited to the necessary medical care, but should also focus on problems with mental health, work, religion, finance and legal affairs.


The research is part of an extensive multi-year study, part of the VICTIMS (Victims in Modern Society) project of the Victim Support Fund. The study has just been published in the authoritative peer-reviewed scientific journal European Journal of Public Health.


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