Objective: To evaluate the psychological effect of a mass casualty shooting event on general surgery residents.
Design: Three and 7 months following the Pulse nightclub mass casualty shooting, the mental well-being of general surgery residents employed at the receiving institution was evaluated. A voluntary and anonymous screening questionnaire for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression (MD) was administered. Responses were stratified into 2 groups; residents who worked (ON-CALL) and residents who did not work (OFF-CALL) the night of the event. Data were analyzed using Mann-Whitney U and Fisher's exact tests and are reported as median with interquartile range (IQR) or percentage.
Setting: Level I trauma center.
Participants: Thirty-one general surgery residents.
Results: Twenty-four residents (77%) returned the 3-month questionnaire: 10 ON-CALL and 14 OFF-CALL. There was no difference in PTSD and MD between the 2 groups (30% vs. 14%; p = 0.61) and (30% vs. 7%; p = 0.27), respectively. Twenty-three of the 24 residents responded to the 7-month questionnaire. Over time, the incidence of PTSD did not resolve in the ON-CALL group, but did resolve in the OFF-CALL group (30% vs. 0%; p = 0.07). There was no significant change in the incidence of MD in either group (30% vs. 8%; p = 0.28). At 7 months postevent, more residents in both groups stated that they had sought counseling (30% vs. 44%; p = 0.65) and (0% vs. 15%; p = 0.22).
Conclusions: The emotional toll associated with this mass casualty event had a substantial effect upon the general surgery residents involved. With the incidence of PTSD and MD identified, we believe that all residents should be provided with counseling following such events.
Keywords: Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Practice-Based Learning and Improvement; Systems-Based Practice; major depression; mass casualty; posttraumatic stress disorder; psychological effect; surgical residents.
Copyright © 2017 Association of Program Directors in Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.