PTSD Symptoms in 40% of Trauma Surgeons
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-Brief Notes by Dr. Marcia Kostenuik
A national survey of trauma surgeons found symptoms of PTSD in 40%. Full PTSD criteria were met in 15%. Symptoms were higher in male surgeons with more surgical cases, >7 call shifts/month, >5cases/call, & who had <4hrs relaxation/day (1).
In my experience of our medical culture, male trauma surgeons who take more call, see more cases, perform more surgeries per shift and don’t get enough rest are called “superheroes”, and seen as tougher and more resilient. The data show the real impact of this work style.
PTSD rates in ER physicians and residents range from 14-29% (2). In the general population prevalence is 3-4% (3).
“Our findings prompt a need for further investigation into the development of support programs for healthcare providers, aimed at reducing the traumatic stress experienced by physicians at work.”(3)