A study has found that over half of those who survive intensive care treatment will develop psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive impairment and poor quality of life.

157 patients were studied at University College Hospital London three months after they had survived treatment in intensive care. 55% of those patients had some form of psychological problem; 27% had post-traumatic stress disorder, 46% had depression and 44% had anxiety.

The Critical Care Journal reports that longer term problems are caused by certain drugs, combined with the stress of being in hospital.

Dr Wade, psychologist from UCL Hospital, said “Once they’re starting to wake up and become conscious they can be in a terrified state, thinking they’ve gone mad or there’s a conspiracy to steal their organs or torture them.”

It is good news that these problems are being recognised. Dr David Howell, clinical director of critical care at UCL Hospital said that the results of the study will enable the hospital to focus on how to make the situation better.

If the trauma of having to experience treatment in an intensive care unit is not great enough already, at Kingsley Napley, we act for those who have ended up receiving intensive care as a result of medical negligence. Our clients often have on-going psychological problems to contend with as a result of the negligence.

When we seek compensation for clients who are experiencing psychological problems, part of the claim is for money to enable our clients to undergo psychological treatment such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Counselling. The principle behind medical negligence claims is, after all, to try to put the client in to the position that they would have been in, had the negligence not occurred and that means to try to restore their psychological health as well as their physical wellbeing.  

Source: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dahr/research_pages/intensivecare