November 16, 2012
Boston, MA- A team of investigators led by researchers from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Harvard Medical School published their findings today in a paper titled, “The long-term impact of physical and emotional trauma: The Station nightclub fire” in PLOS One, a peer reviewed research journal. The study which involved over 100 survivors of the “Station Nightclub Fire” looked at the multi-dimensional long-term effects of a catastrophic event and assessed the differences in outcomes between survivors with and without physical injury in a multivariate analysis. This is the first study to investigate the long-term effects of a large fire on its survivor population that included survivors with and without burn injuries.
“We already know that burn survivors experience significant long-lasting effects from their injury. This research shows that for survivors of The Station fire, emotional trauma, not physical injury, is a main determinant of quality of life and psychological outcomes. The long-term impact of this traumatic event underscores the importance of longitudinal care for trauma survivors, with attention to those with and without physical injuries” said Dr. Jeffrey Schneider, Medical Director, Burn and Trauma Rehabilitation Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and the study’s principal investigator.
Among the main findings of the paper were that survivors of this large fire experienced significant life disruption, including occupational, psychological and quality of life sequelae. The findings also suggest that quality of life, depression and post-traumatic stress outcomes are related to emotional trauma, not physical injury.
The “Station Nightclub Fire” tragedy occurred almost ten years ago on February 20, 2003 and was one of the deadliest fires in American history killing 100 people. Several survivors were initially treated at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston for their burn injuries.
In addition to the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, other participating sites included, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, Shriners Hospitals for Children-Boston, Division of Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.