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Institutional Betrayal Can Leave Patients Psychologically Harmed

By Jack H. FarnbauchJanuary 3, 2018

A Canadian study by psychologists at the University of Regina has studied the effect that “institutional betrayal” has on a healthcare patient’s psyche. Patients’ trust in health care is increasingly recognized as important to quality care, yet questions remain about what types of health care experiences erode trust. The researchers defined institutional betrayal as a failure of an organization to respond effectively to unexpected or negative events and potentially causing emotional trouble for patients. This idea was originally conceived at the University of Oregon just 8 years ago. The Oregon researchers used the term to study the effects of the university’s actions in response to a sexual assault.

Early results of the study at the University of Regina have shown that patients that feel betrayed by health care professionals sometimes produce feelings of post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, or anxiety. The study also found that the opposite is true: patients that feel supported and take responsibility for mistakes are less susceptible to psychological damage. 

You can read more about the study here. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice and need to talk to an attorney, please call the Sweeney Law Firm for more information.