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עמוד בית
Tue, 23.07.24

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December 2022
Tanya Ebert MD, Nimrod Goldschmid MD, Edmond Sabo MD, Efrat City-Elifaz MD

Background: School closures due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak affected students physically, socially, and psychologically with an increase in the number of children and adolescent presenting with anxiety, depression, and drug abuse.

Objectives: To examine the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on the mental health of minors during the pandemic period and to characterize the type and number of referrals to a regional psychiatric outpatient clinic.

Methods: This study included 380 children evaluated in an outpatient child psychiatric clinic. They were divided into two groups: before the lockdowns (BLD) (n=248), from January 2019 to February 2020, and during the lockdowns (LD) (n=132), from March 2020 to April 2021.

Results: When comparing the LD to BLD, there was increase in suicide attempts (9.8% vs. 2.8%) and in the use of psychotherapy (81% vs. 56%). There was a decrease in the diagnoses of behavior disorders (29.5% vs. 44.8%) and ADHD (29.5% vs. 50%); as well as a decrease in stimulant usage (22.7% vs. 38%). There was a statistically non-significant increase in the number of children with depression, anxiety, and drug-use disorder.

Conclusions: Many children developed educational, social, emotional, and behavioral gaps during LD, and they lost skills to deal with everyday problems due to social isolation. It is important to follow the long-term impact of the lockdowns and social isolation.

March 2017
Irina Briskman MD, Assaf Shelef MD MHA, Uri Berger MA, Yehuda Baruch MD MHA, Gali Bar MA, Jack Asherov MD, Artur Lvovski MD, Alan Apter MD and Yoram Barak MD MHA

Background: Deliberate self-harm (DSH) increases the danger of future suicide death and the risk increases with age. Self-harm in older adults is often associated with greater suicidal intent and lethality. 

Objectives: To investigate clinical and psychosocial variables of older patients (age ≥ 65 years) assessed due to DSH, compared with younger adults.

Methods: Patients admitted to the Emergency Department following DSH during an 8 year period were included.

Results: Of 1149 participants, 187 (16.6%) were older adults (age ≥ 65) and 962 (83.4%) were younger adults (< 65). The older adults reported DSH closer to mid-day (P < 0.01) and suffered more frequently from adjustment disorder and depression. Personality disorders and schizophrenia were less commonly diagnosed (P < 0.001). Prescription medication (sedatives and hypnotics) were a more frequent means (88% vs. 71%) of DSH among older patients. Younger patients with DSH used over-the-counter medications (21.9% vs. 6.4%) three times more than did the older patients (P < 0.01). Past DSH was significantly more frequent in younger adults. Following DSH the older patients were frequently admitted for further general hospitalization (P < 0.001). 

Conclusions: Older adults with DSH are a unique group with different clinical characteristics. There is a need for targeted prevention strategies and education of caregivers regarding DSH in older adults.

 

August 2013
R. Cooper-Kazaz
 Background: Many tertiary hospitals provide psychiatric services that treat diverse clinical situations. Most patients referred to these services following a serious suicide attempt have psychiatric diagnoses, but their unique characteristics and needs are not known.

Objectives: To examine the files of patients hospitalized in a tertiary hospital in Israel following a serious suicide attempt. Their mental conditions were determined and their unique demographic and clinical characteristics and needs compared to the other patients examined by the psychiatric service.

Methods: The study focused on 49 consecutive patients admitted after performing a life-threatening suicide attempt. They were compared to 389 non-suicidal patients assessed by the same psychiatric service during one year.

Results: Nearly half the patients hospitalized following a serious suicide attempt had only an axis II diagnosis (personality disorder). Non-violent methods of suicide were used predominantly by females, and violent methods mainly by males. All suicide attempts by Muslims used violent methods, while less than half the attempts by Jews were violent. Compared to the non-suicidal patients, the suicide-attempters group was younger, had greater representation of Jewish females and Muslim males. Compared to the non-suicidal patients, these patients required more intense psychiatric care, earlier commencement of treatment in the course of hospitalization, more psychiatric visits and treatment hours, and more referrals for further care. Several risk factors appear to be associated with a need for more intense in-hospital care and a greater need for referral: male gender, religion, method of suicide attempt (violent vs. non-violent), and the existence of a psychiatric diagnosis.

Conclusions: Suicide-attempt patients who are in need of hospitalization for further medical treatment have unique clinical characteristics and require more intense treatment provided by the Consultation-Liaison Unit. 

 

May 2012
D. Amital, H. Amital, G. Shohat, Y. Soffer and Y. Bar-Dayan

Background: On 4 February 2008, two terrorists armed with suicide bombs arrived at the open market in the southern Israeli city of Dimona. One detonated his bomb at approximately 10:30 a.m. causing multiple casualties. Short-term emotional effects and acute stress reactions usually appear among survivors after such incidents.

Objectives: To compare the differences in emotions and in disturbances of daily life activities that emerge a couple of days following such an event and to identify patterns of stress development among resilient and low-resilient members of the population in Dimona and in the general population of Israel.

Methods: A telephone survey of two randomly selected representative samples of adults (428 Israeli residents and 250 Dimona residents) was conducted 2 days after the event.

Results: A higher prevalence of stress and fear and a lower prevalence of joy were reported among the population of Dimona compared to the general population in Israel (P < 0.05). Differences were also recorded when the population of Dimona was categorized by their personal degree of resilience (P < 0.05). A higher prevalence of disturbances in daily life activities and changes in leisure activity was found in the low-resilient population in Dimona (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that following a public terror event, self-reported low-resilient subjects have a higher prevalence of disturbances in daily life activities, as well as adverse emotional responses. These differences must be addressed by the relevant social service agencies for immediate public intervention

November 2011
A. Bleich, Y. Baruch, S. Hirschmann, G. Lubin, Y. Melamed, Z. Zemishlany and Z. Kaplan

Suicide is universal within the range of human behaviors and is not necessarily related to psychiatric morbidity, though it is considerably more prevalent among psychiatric patients. Considering the limitations of medical knowledge, psychiatrists cope with an unfounded and almost mythical perception of their ability to predict and prevent suicide. We set out to compose a position paper for the Israel Psychiatric Association (IPA) that clarifies expectations from psychiatrists when treating suicidal patients, focusing on risk assessment and boundaries of responsibility, in the era of defensive medicine. The final draft of the position paper was by consensus. The IPA Position Paper established the first standard of care concerning expectations from psychiatrists in Israel with regard to knowledge-based assessment of suicide risk, elucidation of the therapist's responsibility to the suicidal psychotic patient (defined by law) compared to patients with preserved reality testing, capacity for choice, and responsibility for their actions. Therapists will be judged for professional performance rather than outcomes and wisdom of hindsight. This paper may provide support for psychiatrists who, with clinical professionalism rather than extenuating considerations of defensive medicine, strive to save the lives of suicidal patients.
 

October 2008
J. Mergui, D. Raveh MD, J-L. Golmard, A. Fuer, C. Gropp and S. Jaworowski

Background: General hospital staff are often required to care for physically ill patients who arouse concern regarding risk of harm to themselves or others. Some of these patients will receive one-to-one "constant observation." This is the first Israeli study of general hospital patients with high risk behavior.

Objectives: To examine a population of general hospital patients whose behavioral management required the use of constant observation. Demographic and clinical parameters including physical diagnoses were examined, and risk factors for constant observation were identified. The findings of this study were compared to findings in previous studies.

Methods: This prospective observational study examined 714 inpatients referred for psychiatric consultation; 150 were found to require constant observation, and 156 who did not served as a control group.

Results: In this study younger age, suicidal concerns and alcohol/substance abuse were identified as risk factors for ordering constant observation. Ischemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were the only physical diagnoses found to be significantly correlated with a longer duration of observation, regardless of admission duration. Constant observation was less frequently used in the management of organic brain syndrome patients in this study compared to other studies.  

Conclusions: Some of our results (predictive factors for constant observation) confirmed the findings of overseas studies. Our finding that a diagnosis of organic brain syndrome was not a predictive factor for constant observation was unexpected and requires further investigation. The correlation between a diagnosis of ischemic heart disease or COPD[1] and duration of observation has not been reported previously and warrants further studies.  






[1] COPD = chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


March 2008
N. Shoenfeld and R.D. Strous

The biblical story of Samson may be understood at various levels and from different perspectives. Since the story of Samson in the Bible is sketchily drawn, the interpretations of the narrative are numerous. One version, according to David Grossman, a contemporary writer and liberal Israeli political activist, regards Samson critically, viewing him as a tormented individual who opts to end his life in order to end his suffering. Another version is that of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a twentieth century author and nationalistic Jewish political activist, who regards Samson as a heroic figure exemplifying the ultimate Jewish hero who killed himself to help his people. While suicide is considered a tragic event, viewed as the outcome of an unstable state of mind from a psychopathological point of view, and a controversial issue in Judaism (as in other religions), there is value in examining how each of these authors explains the act. Since the personal and political opinions of the authors influenced their interpretations, the discussion will briefly expound on their biographies. A comparison between their two versions of the narrative will be made. A word of caution is introduced regarding the merits and demerits of artistic and creative analysis of the biblical narrative.

March 2007
Y. Barak

The association between the Holocaust experience and suicide has rarely been studied systematically. The dearth of data in this area of old-age psychiatry does not necessarily imply that Holocaust survivors are immune from suicide. Recent work on the aging of survivors seems to suggest that as a group they are at high risk for self-harm. Published reports on suicide and the Holocaust identified by means of a MEDLINE literature search were reviewed. A similar search was performed on the Internet using the Google search engine. Thirteen studies were uncovered, 9 of which addressed the association of suicide and the Holocaust experience and 4 focused on the suicide within the concentration camps during the genocide. Eleven of the 15 studies explicitly reported on the association of suicide, suicidal ideation or death by suicide with the Holocaust experience, or reported findings suggesting such an association. The Internet search yielded three sites clearly describing increased suicide rates in the concentration camps. An increased rate of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among the elderly who were exposed to the Holocaust experience is confirmed. There is a need for further study, intervention and resource allocation among the growing numbers of elderly persons who suffered traumatic events in earlier phases of their lives. This is especially critical for Holocaust survivors.

  
 

June 2003
Y.M. Barilan

The ethical chapter of the Israel Medical Association has recently issued guidelines with regard to exual relationships between doctors and patients or past patients. This paper juxtaposes the paternalistic and severe attitude to doctor-patient sex with the relaxation and individualization of decisions regarding doctors' involvement in assisted suicide, passive and active euthanasia. The discussion bears on our concepts of palliative care and our expectations from it.

July 2002
Jehuda Hiss, MD, Maya Freund, PhD, Uzi Motro, PhD and Tzipi Kahana

Background: The majority (n = 445) of the Israeli and Palestinian fatal victims of the El Aqsa Intifada was examined at the National Center of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv. Analysis of the trauma sustained and the anthropologic profile of both the victims and the perpetrators elucidates the trends and contrasts them with the phenomenon in the past.

Objectives: The purpose of the forensic investigation of mass casualty incidents is manifold: establishing the minimal number of individuals involved, identifying the victims and perpetrators, collecting material evidence, and determining the modus operandi.

Methods: The postmortem examination includes external description of the bodies and their injuries, photo-documentation, and sampling of tissues. Radiography, dental examination, and a ten-print card of each cadaver are also recorded.

Results: The modus operandi of the current Intifada is somewhat different from that of the previous wave of terrorism and includes more road shootings and vehicular terrorism. In addition, three suicide bombers using explosive devices detonated within crowded areas were young women, and the age of the perpetrators has increased from up to 35 years to individuals as old as 47, thus greatly enlarging the potential number of suicide terrorists. Virologic and biologic tests have been introduced to examine the tissues of the suicide bombers since they are possible sources of contagion to the wounded victims.

Conclusion: The results of the medico-legal investigation of victims and perpetrators of terrorism enable us to establish the modus operandi and the profile of potential perpetrators, which can help in the prevention of similar attacks. Documentation of the different types of injuries in fatal victims of explosion and shooting contributes to improving the awareness of the medical staff treating the wounded of similar attacks. Further investigation into the reliability of virologic and biologic tests conducted on postmortem tissue is recommended.

Alina Weissman-Brenner, MD, Avi David, Avi Vidan, MD and Ariel Hourvitz, MD

Background: Organophosphates (OP) are frequently used as insecticides in the household and in agricultural areas, thus posing a risk for accidental exposure.

Objectives: To describe the characteristics, clinical course and outcome of 97 patients admitted to emergency rooms with a diagnosis of acute OP poisoning.

Methods: The clinical details of 97 patients were collected from 6 different hospitals in Israel. Diagnosis of intoxication was based on clinical findings, butyrylcholinesterase levels and, in several cases, the material brought to the hospital. Demographic, intoxication and clinical data were analyzed.

Results: The study group comprised 64 men and 33 women whose age range was 1–70 years old (mean 19.8 ± 17.1); more than one-third of the patients were less than 10 years old. Accidental exposure was the cause of intoxication in 51.5% of the patients, and suicide in 20.6% of exposures. Intoxication occurred at home in most patients (67%), and the route of intoxication was oral in 65% of them. The patients arrived at the hospital 20 minutes to 72 hours after intoxication. Nine patients were asymptomatic; 53 presented with mild intoxication, 22 with moderate, and 13 had severe intoxication, 5 of whom died. There was a direct correlation between the degree of inhibition of butyrylcholinesterase levels and the severity of intoxication. Treatment included decontamination and antidotal medication. Duration of hospitalization ranged between 1 and to 14 days (average 2.9 days).

Conclusions: Organophosphates may cause severe morbidity and mortality. Medical staff should therefore be aware of the clinical manifestations and the antidotal treatment for this poisoning.
 

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