Hospital Errors and PTSD: How Medical Malpractice Traumatizes Survivors

Posted on December 07, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group

Hospital errors can cause severe psychological problems for survivors, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even many years after leaving the hospital, affected patients may never return to normal.

Take for example the psychological effects of waking up in the middle of a surgical procedure. During anesthesia awareness, patients are unable to move, scream or signal doctors for help while they are being operated on.  In some cases of anesthesia awareness, doctors fail to deliver the right dosage of anesthetics. This phenomenon is a great example of how hospital errors can cause severe PTSD in patients.

According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, patients who go through anesthesia awareness can suffer from repetitive nightmares, anxiety attacks, irritability and a preoccupation with death.

Hospital Errors Can Cause Severe Psychological Harm to Patients

Anesthesia awareness is not the only type of hospital error that can cause long-term psychological suffering. Even minor hospital errors can cause serious issues. In a recent ProPublica article, patients conversed with a San Diego State University (SDSU) doctor who specializes in patient care.

According to the SDSU doctor, patients who are harmed during procedures experience psychological symptoms that are commonly found in survivors of physical or sexual violence. Symptoms such as depression, anger, guilt and substance abuse can cause further harm to patients for years to come.

These symptoms should be taken into consideration when discussing medical malpractice, as they can be difficult and costly to treat. Additionally, the pain and suffering caused by psychological trauma can be extremely intense, and is sometimes capable of causing premature death.

Tags: PTSD


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