PTSD and Burnout in Medical Providers Resulting from the Pandemic

PTSD and Burnout in Medical Providers Resulting from the Pandemic

It has been reported in the last several months of increasing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and burnout among medical providers due to the effects of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.  Before the pandemic, 16% of emergency physicians self-reported symptoms of PTSD. (Prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Emergency Physicians in the United States) Reported in the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting in May of 2021, now as many as 36% of front-line physicians may suffer from the condition. (COVID-19: Pandemic Increases PTSD, Suicidal Ideation in Health Care Workers) Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other medical providers at all levels of care are suffering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.  Many are experiencing the symptoms of PTSD which include anxiety, irritability, hypervigilance, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and recurring nightmares.  Once a person develops PTSD, it can last for years.  More than a decade after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, 27% of police responders were still suffering symptoms. (The Burden of Subthreshold Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in World Trade Center Responders in the Second Decade After 9/11) Certain Covid-19 providers may be more vulnerable to the effects of trauma including those who are just beginning their careers. (Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Frontline Health Care Workers During the Pandemic Surge in New York City) In particular, providers who are already feeling burnout are more susceptible to PTSD. (Survey: 42% of Physicians Report Burnout, Some Cite Depression) Source: For providers with PTSD, the trauma of COVID-19 isn’t over.

I have not yet begun to see short term or long term disability claims for medical providers resulting from the coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic.  However, I greatly suspect as the surges lessen, I will begin to see a great number of these types of disability claims.  I believe that medical providers’ resilience and strong will have allowed them to continue working through the pandemic, but I believe that as the pandemic lessens, we will see more and more disability claims for these front-line workers.  In my experience, PTSD claims are often denied by short term and long term disability insurance plans.  I expect that within 6 months to a year from now we will see a large number of these claims being denied and subsequently litigated.  I will be keeping an eye on cases nationwide and updating as I see them come in.  If you are a front-line worker and are considering short term or long term disability, please do not hesitate to contact us.  I would be happy to advise you and help if your claim is denied.

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