You’ve probably heard of people experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological issues after being injured in war, a violent crime or even in a particularly serious car crash. However, researchers have found that anyone who suffers an acute orthopedic injury, no matter the cause, can suffer what’s known as “orthopedic trauma.” This can cause a variety of mental health issues, including PTSD.
One well-known health system associates orthopedic trauma with injuries that “occur in the musculoskeletal system, including bones, cartilage, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons” and are “caused by some external force, such as a severe fall, a serious accident, or even a violent attack.
Researchers who looked at over 7,000 people who had suffered acute orthopedic injuries found that more than a quarter had PTSD, while nearly a third had depression. These psychological issues are more likely to occur if something about their injury was particularly frightening or disturbing. Maybe their arm or leg was severely mangled or nearly severed. Maybe they feared, even for a few seconds, that they were going to die – or saw someone else die.
Mental health treatment is often crucial to physical recovery
Too often, after a serious orthopedic injury, health care professionals, family and the patient themselves are so focused on physical well-being and recovery that the psychological component of their injury is overlooked. As one surgeon who has treated serious breaks puts it, “Support for the psychological distress of orthopedic trauma patients is often overshadowed by a focus on the effective management of the patient’s fracture.”
When these mental health issues aren’t fully recognized and treated, a person’s physical recovery can slow or stall completely. That’s why if someone appears to be suffering from orthopedic trauma after an injury caused by another party, it’s important to factor in mental health treatment with other medical expenses as you seek compensation. While it may be tempting to accept the first settlement offer you get from an insurance company, it’s wise to take the time to seek legal guidance to protect your right to fair compensation.