Tragic Events Can Cause PTSD in First RespondersNovember 7, 2018
In early October 20 people lost their lives in a tragic limousine accident in Schoharie, New York. First responders rushed to the scene of the accident, where they assessed the situation and did what they are trained to do. Unfortunately, what they saw when they started prying open the mangled vehicle was unlike anything they had ever witnessed before.
First responders often face tragic, violent, gruesome scenes on a daily basis. Over time, exposure to tragic events like these can cause a range of physical and mental conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The firefighters who first arrived at the scene of the limousine accident rushed to the vehicle and immediately began prying it open using the jaws of life. Within minutes, they had the car open and began pulling bodies out of the vehicle.
The Central Bridge Fire Captain described the scene as something from a nightmare. According to the Schoharie County Sheriff, the scene of the accident was like nothing he has ever seen before.
Unfortunately, the extensive training that firefighters and other first responders receive does not always address the mental and emotional impact that these events can have on workers.
Symptoms of PTSD
Workers who are exposed to emotionally shocking, violent, or tragic events as part of their job are at risk for PTSD, which can be debilitating if left untreated.
The following are common symptoms of the disorder:
- Flashbacks or nightmares
- Sleep issues like insomnia
- Feeling emotionally disconnected
- Loss of interest in things you typically enjoy
- Extreme feelings of worry, guilt, anger, or hopelessness
- Avoiding people or places that remind you of the traumatic event
- Issues with drugs or alcohol
Admitting to Trauma
First responders may not be quick to seek help, because they want to maintain their image of strength and invincibility. To some, admitting that they have an emotional problem like PTSD is a sign of weakness. When working as part of a team, like a fire department or EMT squad, a first responder dealing with mental issues may feel like the weak link in the chain.
Sadly, there is still a stigma associated with mental health issues. People suffering from depression, anxiety, or PTSD are sometimes seen as unstable and erratic. Fortunately, that stigma is starting to lessen, as more people have a better understanding of what causes mental illness, and the treatment options that are available.
If a first responder begins to have problems doing their job after a traumatic incident, or an injury occurs because of that incident, Workers’ Compensation benefits may be available for those suffering from PTSD.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for First Responders Suffering from Work-Related PTSD
If you are a first responder who is suffering from PTSD, or any other mental health condition as a result of your job, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We understand and appreciate the importance of the work that you do, and we are committed to securing the full Workers’ Compensation benefits that you are entitled to receive, including professional counselling and medication. Whether you suffered from a physical injury or some type of emotional trauma, we will guide you through the claims process and ensure that your rights are protected at all times. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.