Why did your healthcare trauma cause depression, anxiety or worse?

Why did your healthcare trauma cause depression, anxiety or worse?

Why did your healthcare trauma cause depression, anxiety or worse? 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

This week, I received an email from a client explaining how their life is so drastically different now, than it was before their healthcare trauma. They had a wonderful, productive life before. Now, after almost dying, being on a ventilator, losing work, self esteem, etc. – life is much altered. Life is much harder.

In sum, life looked like, looks like this:



Enjoyed work, about to be promoted No longer enjoys work, misses days because can’t get out of bed
Loved being around people more isolated
Confident Anxious
Motivated Not motivated


After we emailed and I recognized how normal it is to feel altered, sad, perhaps depressed after a healthcare trauma, I received a call from another client who explained to me – “this whole incident has changed my Mom. She isn’t independent and confident anymore. She is anxious. Emotional. Scared.”

I am not a mental health professional, LET ME REPEAT – I CANNOT GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE, but I know my clients and I have seen first hand – how a health care trauma can impact your life.

Sometimes, a trauma occurs because of a bad diagnosis, or a struggle for health. But some how, it seems to have an even greater impact on the emotional health of the patient and their families, when the healthcare trauma occurs because of negligent or bed medical care. I wonder, why does the idea that “it all could have been avoided” – make the trauma worse?

I admittedly don’t know why. But, a number of my clients have recently articulated their pain, grief, depression and almost PTSD like response to a healthcare crisis as being live changing. Their bodies have healed, but their minds and hearts have not. We often lose sight of the fact that almost dying, or losing our health, or actually losing a loved one – or watching a loved one lose their health, can have an emotional and spiritual impact that extends beyond the physical.

In a pre-COVID world we all operated under the myth that we were in charge. In control.

When a healthcare crisis hits, or your life is changed forever by malpractice or negligence, you are reminded how little control you actually have. It’s hard, but normal to be changed after such a trauma or experience.

My advice to these clients today was to seek counseling. To mention these feelings of anxiety, these changes, this new sadness or anxiety to their doctor. To take steps forward beyond the pain. 

I too have suffered a health care crisis – and the experience left a lasting impression on me. No one was to blame, and the issue could not have been avoided, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to re-learn who I was. It doesn’t mean I don’t get flashbacks of pain when I drive past a certain hospital, or recall my anger at family, God, everyone during the event.

Life is hard. Trauma does take a toll. But if you have been the victim of malpractice, or negligence, and lost your health because of some event – don’t be surprised by the emotional impact as well, and get help.

Please, get help.



About the author

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.

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