Can Medical Malpractice Cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? August 29, 2012.

Though typically associated with war veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety that can affect any person who has seen or experienced a traumatic event, such as a car accident or even medical malpractice.

"People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger," says the National Institute of Mental Health.

Symptoms of PTSD

After a surgical error or other negligence, a patient may experience PTSD symptoms, such as:

  • flashback episodes in which the event seems to be happening again;
  • nightmares;
  • strong emotional reactions to situations that are similar to the event;
  • feelings of "numbness" or detachment;
  • difficulty concentrating;
  • being startled or scared easily;
  • trouble sleeping;
  • feelings of irritability or anxiety;
  • dizziness or fainting; and
  • chronic headaches.

Currently, there are no tests or standard measures to diagnose a person with this condition. However, someone exhibiting these emotions and behaviors for more than 30 days can be said to be experiencing PTSD. Your doctor and/or psychologist can help determine whether you have this disabling disorder or whether you’re suffering from a similar condition such as acute stress disorder.