Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is recognized After Intensive Care Unit Stays

Studies reveal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a symptom after a patient has experienced an intensive care unit (ICU) stay. Often doctors, nurses, and caregivers overlook the psychiatric symptoms which may develop in patients after an intensive care unit experience. These symptoms can include, but are not limited to, intrusive thoughts, avoidant behaviors, mood swings, emotional numbness, sleep disturbances, and reckless behavior. Medical personnel are focused on the quality of a patient's current condition often leaving PTSD symptoms undiagnosed.

ICU patients, even if comatose, still experience what is happening around them, and their brains find ways to rationalize what is occurring. These patients may experience flashbacks or dreams that they cannot explain. Other PTSD sufferers - victims of combat, sexual assault or natural disasters - also endure flashbacks, but theirs are grounded in episodes that can often be corroborated. What is unsettling for post-ICU patients is that no one can verify their seemingly real horrors; one patient described a food cart in the ICU selling strips of her flayed flesh.

ICU nurses have taken the lead in efforts to alleviate the trauma of stays and to shorten the duration of the subsequent mood disorders, for both families as well as patients. In Britain, Germany and some Scandinavian countries, nurses in many critical care units keep a diary of the care they provide to a patient, with contributions from the family, which they give to the patient upon discharge. The diaries function as a realistic counterpoint to patients' hallucinations or amnesia.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been running a post-ICU clinic on Friday afternoons since last fall. Typically, the treatment team includes a critical care nurse-practitioner, a psychologist, a pharmacist, a pulmonologist and a nurse who functions in a social worker capacity. They evaluate patients for physical, cognitive, social and psychological impairments. James C. Jackson, a psychologist and assistant professor in the division of critical care medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, has worked with patients both in and out of studies making great contributions in this arena.

But whether patients or family members develop PTSD symptoms or the full disorder, persuading them to seek treatment poses unique challenges.

If you or someone you know have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories