Suicide in Colombian anesthesiologists. National survey study
Introduction: The risk of suicide among anesthesiologists seems to be higher than in other areas of specialization, probably because of the significant stress associated with this specialty, easy access to strong medications and the profound knowledge about the use of these drugs. There is a poor knowledge about the impact of suicide on anesthesiologists in Colombia and the resources available to deal with this situation are limited.
Objective: This survey is intended to indirectly identify the frequency of suicide among the Colombian anesthesiologists and the experiences associated with the suicide of a colleague.
Methods: Observational, cross-sectional study based on a survey administered to all the anesthesiologists members of the Colombian Society of Anesthesiology and Resuscitation S.C.A.R.E., at a national scale.
Results: 403 anesthesiologists completed the survey. Eighty (19.8 %) of the respondents said they were aware of the death of at least one colleague that committed suicide. Most of them are male anesthesiologists or intensivists, and the age group with the highest rate of reports is between 25 - 29 years old in males. The primary causal mechanism was opioid overdose (58.5 %).
Conclusions: In an indirect characterization of suicide among Colombian anesthesiologists, 99 suicide reports were identified corresponding to 80 anesthesiologists. Suicide is preventable and the worksite should provide the support mechanisms required to identify occupational stress, drug dependence, depression and suicide.
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