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J Trauma. 1985 Jun;25(6):544-6.

Surgical staff recognition of psychopathology in trauma patients.


This study investigated the recognition of psychopathology by the surgical team in 56 trauma patients independently evaluated by the authors for current psychiatric diagnosis using research criteria. Thirty-four per cent of patients (N = 19) met criteria for one or more psychiatric disorder, with alcohol abuse/dependence the most frequent diagnosis (N = 16). Examination of medical records showed no mention of psychopathology or related treatment plan for 13 of 19 patients (68%). Three patients' charts had brief comments related to the psychopathologic diagnosis, and three charts documented requested psychiatric consultation. This study demonstrates that substantial treatable psychopathology was undocumented and untreated in a trauma surgery patient population.

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