Table 2

Prevalence and effect of characteristics that made the index incident troubling
Prevalence* Effect size†
N % eta2 sig.
Situational characteristics
Factors beyond my control. 140 62.8 .09 <.001
It showed how people can be cruel or neglectful 97 43.5 .02 .02
Dealing with the relatives was difficult. 88 39.5 .06 <.001
End of shift. 35 15.7 .02 .045
The situation was dangerous for me or another paramedic. 27 12.1 .09 <.001
I spent time with the patient and I got to know him – her 19 8.5 .02 .06
Any situation characteristic 197 88.3 .09 <.001
Systemic characteristics
It was mismanaged at the time. 48 21.5 0.06 <.001
How the call was relayed - treated. 40 17.9 0.05 .001
The supervisor’s reaction. 36 16.1 0.04 .002
It was mismanaged after the incident. 36 16.1 0.02 .04
How the call was handled by dispatch. 27 12.1 0.05 .001
There was an investigation or complaint about it 27 12.1 0.03 .01
Reactions of peers. 26 11.7 0.03 .01
Inadequate equipment. 12 5.4 0.02 .06
Any system characteristic 101 45.3 0.08 <.001
Personal characteristics
I was surprised by the call. 116 52.0 0.08 <.001
I felt helpless. 108 48.4 0.17 <.001
I felt overwhelmed. 76 34.1 0.22 <.001
I felt I didn’t do a good enough job. 47 21.1 0.07 <.001
Fatigue. 44 19.7 0.04 .004
There were cumulative work stressors in my life at the time. 33 14.8 0.07 <.001
I felt unappreciated. 24 10.8 0.05 .001
There were stresses in my personal life at the time. 23 10.3 0.07 <.001
Any self characteristic 179 80.3 0.17 <.001

The following items were removed because they had an effect size < 0.015: the outcome was bad (79%), a child was involved (54%), it was gruesome (44%), it was violent (38%), there were multiple casualties (22%), the patient reminded me of someone close to me (17%), lack of allied services, back-up, personnel, equipment, etc. (14%), the response of doctors and nurses on arrival at hospital (10%), over-involvement or under-involvement of allied services (10%), I don’t remember, it just was (10%), access issues (9%), the media exposure was a problem (7%), the patient was someone I knew (4%), equipment failure (2%).

† Difference in peritraumatic distress between EMT/paramedics who did or did not endorse this item.

Halpern et al.

Halpern et al. BMC Emergency Medicine 2012 12:10   doi:10.1186/1471-227X-12-10

Open Data