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The mental health challenges of being an ER doctor

Dr. Larry Burchett / ER Doctor

“I could never be a doctor, I can’t stand the sight of blood.”  Yes you can.  Almost everyone can tolerate visual images of trauma through repetition.  This is called desensitization.  In med school, we had 2 people pass out on the first day of gross anatomy (with cadaver or dead bodies).  Then they got over it.  But there is one of the 5 senses that never desensitizes, and there is a anatomic reason for this…So in the ER with trauma, we get used to it.  Blood gets our heart racing, unleashes the adrenaline and spurs us to action–stopping the bleeding and saving the life.  Not event a moment of shock anymore.

Doctors can be chronically hurt from PTSD–watching people suffer and die.  If PTSD originates from a moment where one’s life is either threatened, or one witnesses another experiencing the same and associates into it, then doctors (nurses etc) may experience micro traumas that accumulate in a PTSD like syndrome.  Especially if professional lines are blurred (you fail to keep your distance).  The best doctors both engage emotionally and keep it professional so as not to burn out–a difficult balance to manage.


Dr. John Huber ( is the Chairman for Mainstream Mental Health, a non-profit organization that brings lasting and positive change to the lives of individuals that suffer from mental health issues.  A mental health professional for over twenty years, Dr. Huber is a Clinical Forensic Psychologist


anxiety, clinical forensic psychologist, depression, Dr. John Huber, Forensic Psychology, Kristin Sunanta Walker, life change, mental health, mental health perspectives, mental illness, positive change, psychology, psychology headlines, Ryan McCormick, social issues, substance abuse, Substance Use Disorder

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