20 Nov Nearly Half of Gunshot Survivors May Have PTSD
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael A. Vella, M.D., M.B.A.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of Acute Care Surgery and Trauma
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: There is a lot of (appropriate) focus on the mortality statistics related to gun violence, but sometimes we forget about the large number of survivors of gunshot wounds. We wanted to specifically look at the long term physical and mental health outcomes in this patient population.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: The main findings can be summarized as this: Survivors of gunshot wounds have long term impairments in physical function and mental health that seem to persist over time and are not isolated to just those with severe physical injuries. Nearly half of the 183 patients who participated screened positive for PTSD.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The implications are that we as providers who take care of patients injured by gun violence need to focus efforts on longitudinal physical and mental health care in this unique population in order to get them the resources that the deserve, and, in many cases, need.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: For one, we can do a better job of following survivors of gunshot injuries longitudinally in real time to 1) see how impairments in physical and mental function change over time and 2) ensure that these individuals are given access to appropriate resources (i.e. primary care physicians, mental health professionals, etc…). Although our study did not evaluate strategies to improve physical or mental health function, future work should focus on determining what strategies work best in this regard.
Vella MA, Warshauer A, Tortorello G, et al. Long-term Functional, Psychological, Emotional, and Social Outcomes in Survivors of Firearm Injuries. JAMA Surg. Published online November 20, 2019. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2019.4533
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