'Extremely traumatic' rescue leaves Thai boys at risk for PTSD, top emergency doctor warns

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Associated Press

An emergency medicine physician at the University of Chicago, says the 12 rescued boys from a Thai cave should make a quick recovery from any hypothermia or other physical effects of their ordeal underground, but psychological effects are much harder to estimate.

Paediatrician Dr. Alison Tothy says post-traumatic stress disorder is one of “any number of psychiatric concerns” the boys could encounter.
Source: Associated Press

Thailand's navy SEALs say all 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from a flooded cave in far northern Thailand, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks.

Dr. Allison Tothy says they could face post-traumatic psychiatric problems, such as nightmares and separation anxiety.

"I believe that there are any number of psychiatric concerns that might occur, including PTSD, post-traumatic events," Dr. Tothy says. 

"Anything from nightmares, to being separated from their family.

"I would imagine that the rescue that took place was extremely traumatic for the children as well as the coach, and that will be something that has to be addressed as well."

Tothy says the boys are all athletes, and were probably in good shape before the cave ordeal.

"Kids in general are resilient, both mentally and physically," she said.

"These were kids that play sports, so presumably they were pretty healthy to begin with.

"So hopefully, that combination of a resilient kid and a really healthy kid mesh together to make for a quick medical recovery.

"So the children have a number of things going for them. Number one, they were rescued successfully in an amazing rescue operation with a lot of people that are supporting them.

"They have doctors and the medical team that will be caring for them amazingly well. And they also have each other, they have their families, their coaches and a huge support team to help them continue to be healthy."

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