Catastrophic Events in the Perioperative Setting: A Survey of U.S. Anesthesiologists
- *Corresponding Author:
- Anahat K. Dhillon
E-mail: [email protected]
Catastrophic events in the perioperative period can adversely impact the wellbeing of the healthcare workers involved. These second victims may experience symptoms including depression, isolation and loss of confidence related to the event. A limited amount of published research suggests those who receive formal support (e.g. departmental debriefing) may have an improved recovery experience. This cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the proportion of U.S. anesthesiologists who have experienced catastrophic perioperative events and bring into focus the association between event details, respondent characteristics and utilization of formal support with recovery time. Additionally, we aimed to ascertain the current state of post-event formal support and opinions for ideal event handling across the anesthesiology practice. A seventeen-question survey was distributed to 5,000 attending anesthesiologist members of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). 289 responses were received. 85% report having experienced a catastrophic event; greater than 80% of those involved a death. 42% took a few days or less to recover yet 24% took a year or more. 31% had department debriefing and 25% had multidisciplinary debriefing. No association between gender, practice setting, years of experience and recovery time was detected. Comments revealed highly individualized recovery experiences and heterogeneity in processes for post-event debrief. Regarding current, institutional practice: 56% report there is no departmental debriefing team and 16% do not know if such a team exists. 49% feel debriefing should be mandatory. Comments reflect a variety of opinions regarding ideal support. Resources that address the complexities of the recovery experience should be thoughtfully developed and made available to those who may benefit from them.