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The Risk of Post-ICU Syndrome Following Serious Personal Injury

October 12th, 2018
By Zach Christiansen of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation on Friday, October 12, 2018.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana. Individuals who have near-death-experiences during a serious car accident or personal injury often suffer long-term psychological effects long after they have been released from the hospital. recently reported on the condition, known as post-ICU syndrome. The symptoms of this condition can vary, from memory problems, to anxiety and depression. Others may even experience continued delirium long after the threat of immanent death has passed. Patients may also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and some even go on to suffer dementia. NPR reports that the original age of the patient is not significant. Old as well as young patients can suffer from these effects.

As more doctors recognize the seriousness of this condition, more are looking for ways to help patients. Patients who suffer from post-ICU syndrome are at risk of becoming socially isolated. According to NPR, researchers have found that one-third of patients who develop post-ICU syndrome will improve, one-third will stay the same, and another third will get worse. For the patients who get worse, they sometimes develop symptoms that appear to be like dementia or mimic the impact of CTE or other serious traumatic brain injury.

What is mysterious to doctors is that patients who experience this condition may have had no blow to the brain and may have suffered no brain damage during their injury. However, something happens when the body is put under incredible stress that seems to lead to the development of these symptoms. The greatest risk factor that a person will develop post-ICU syndrome is the presence of delirium while in the ICU.

The good news is that with early diagnosis and treatment more patients can recover. Unfortunately, patients may not report their symptoms to doctors right away. Family and loved ones can help by recognizing cognitive or emotional shifts in their loved ones after they have been released from the ICU. Changes in memory, mood, sleep, or depression can be a sign that a patient may need additional support. Many doctors are starting to see post-ICU syndrome as a type of brain injury. Many families think that their loved one is out of the woods once they have been released from the ICU following a serious personal injury. However, for many, the journey is just beginning and post-ICU syndrome can leave victims with long-term challenges.

According to U.S. News and World Report, symptoms of post-ICU syndrome include:

  • Nerve and muscle weakness
  • Memory changes
  • Problems speaking
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

U.S. News and World Report found that patients who had been on ventilators were most at risk.

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury and is still struggling, consider reaching out to the personal injury lawyers at the The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm in New Orleans, Louisiana. You may only have a limited amount of time to seek damages for your losses. Because post-ICU syndrome can be hard to identify and treat, time is of the essence. Visit us at to learn more about your rights and options.

The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation

1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1050

New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112

Phone: (504) 586-5200

Toll Free: (504) 586-5200

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