[Professional burden for anaesthesiologists: "life after death"].
The confrontation with lethal courses, either due to fate or treatment errors, is an inevitable factor in the professional life of anaesthesiologists working in the fields of pain and palliative medicine as well as in emergency and intensive medicine. Even those active in the central service of anaesthesia in the operating room are not strangers to this topic. Thus it is even more surprising that neither during undergraduate studies nor during continuing medical education are systematic aids or guidelines provided on how to cope with such situations. Furthermore, there are no structured recommendations on how individual physicians, institutions or their superiors should behave in such circumstances. This is worrying as post-traumatic stress disorders can result from these experiences and can be detrimental to further professional and private lives ranging through to burn-out, substance abuse, or abandonment of the medical profession, etc. Lessons can be learnt from the German railways that have long offered a structured counselling concept for train drivers who have been involved in accidents with human injury. The present article is thus intended to promote a sensitisation for the topic and the resultant problems in individual cases as well to provide first considerations on the establishment of possible remedial structures. © Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York.