This Is What Led Dr. Lim to Develop PTSD on ABC's Hit Drama 'The Good Doctor'

Why does Dr. Lim have PTSD? Season 4 of 'The Good Doctor' charts the long and painful process of overcoming the condition. Why was she diagnosed?

Leila Kozma - Author

Feb. 22 2021, Updated 12:26 p.m. ET

Christina Chang as Dr. Lim in 'The Good Doctor'
Source: ABC

The mid-season premiere of The Good Doctor, "Lim," marked a watershed moment in Dr. Audrey Lim's (Christina Chang) painful battle with post-traumatic stress disorder. In a hair-raising scene, the doctor's motorcycle ride took a terrifying turn — and she ended up in a minor crash. Season 4 of the medical drama charts the complicated process whereby she tries to come to terms with PTSD. But so, what caused the condition? Why does she have PTSD? 

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Dr. Lim developed PTSD on 'The Good Doctor' after working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Season 4 of The Good Doctor puts Dr. Lim in a difficult predicament. On the one hand, the doctor has to overcome the tragic loss of Dr. Neil Melendez's (Nicholas Gonzalez). On the other, she starts to exhibit the symptoms of PTSD, which are likely the results of having to work day after day on the frontline of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

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Determined to keep her title as the chief of surgery at the San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital, she tries to ignore the increasingly crippling symptoms as long as she can — until they slowly but steadily start to seep into every aspect of her life. The episode titled "Lim" captures one of the first times the PTSD symptoms became manifested in such a way that they put Dr. Lim's life and personal well-being at risk. 

Take, for instance, "Irresponsible Salad Bar Practices," in which the highly successful trauma surgeon and chief of surgery admits that she has decided to start taking medication for the symptoms during a casual conversation with a few other colleagues. 

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"I started taking [Sertraline] ... for PTSD," she told Dr. Marcus Andrews (Hill Harper) and Dr. Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas).  

The confession marked a breakthrough for Dr. Lim, who insisted on keeping the condition a secret for the majority of Season 4.  

Source: Instagram
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Dr. Lim's insistence on dealing with the symptoms alone created a rift between her and Claire. As the previous episodes of The Good Doctor revealed, Dr. Lim has a whole host of reasons to reject her help, including Claire's past romantic involvement with Dr. Melendez, and the simple fact that she is her subordinate at the hospital. 

Although they both have had experiences with PTSD, this alone doesn't provide them much common ground. Determined to save her reputation as the person in authority, Dr. Lim continues to turn down Claire's attempts to help. 

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why does dr lim have ptsd
Source: ABC

Season 4 of The Good Doctor received a great deal of applause from critics and fans alike for its rare ability to nail down fundamental truths about the issues those struggling to manage the symptoms of PTSD have to face. 

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"Fantastic episode tonight, tackling so many extremely important issues at once, so good! @GoodDoctorABC @gooddrwriters Thank you for that! And thank you @_ChristinaChang for bringing PTSD into light the way you did, you did an incredible job as always! #TheGoodDoctor" tweeted @MusicalAbuse

Catch new episodes of The Good Doctor every Monday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. 

If you or someone you know needs help, use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find support for mental health and substance use disorders in your area:, or call 1-800-662-4357 for 24-hour assistance.

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