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Coll Antropol. 2007 Dec;31(4):1173-7.

Self-inflicted burns in patients with chronic combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder.

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  • 1Clinic for Psychological Medicine, University Hospital "Zagreb", Zagreb, Croatia.


This study examined self-inflicted burns in case series of four patients with chronic combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those patients were hospitalized in the Burn Unit of the University Hospital of Traumatology in Zagreb because of severe burns and had a premorbid psychiatric history of PTSD. Demographic data and information regarding the circumstances surrounding the incident, burn severity, treatment and outcomes of these patients were collected. The authors have analyzed possible impacts of the sensationalistic way in which media present cases of self-inflicted burning that induce other, new cases of this suicide type, known in the literature as "Werther's syndrome". The importance of multidisciplinary approach in the treatment of burn patients is stressed with emphasis on the important role of liaison psychiatrist in treating these patients. It is necessary to educate media people to avoid sensational reporting on this kind of events. Continuous psychiatric treatment of vulnerable individuals could be useful in prevention of self-inflicted burns.

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