Self Assessment


Self Assessment for Medical Malpractice Stress Syndrome

 2005 Louise B. Andrew MD JD

I am involved as a defendant in litigation and I am experiencing or feeling

 Anger or irritability which is affecting my satisfaction with life

 Sense of reduction or loss of control in aspects of my work or life

 Singled out, isolation or tendency towards distancing from my peers

 Over- or under-activity relative to my usual pattern

 Anxiety or depressive symptoms

 Changes in appetite or eating habits

 Insomnia or poor quality sleep

 Changes in libido (particularly reduction)

 Emotional distancing from patients or office staff

 Tendency towards withdrawal from family, friends, group activities

 Concerns about my competence or ability to make decisions

  Hesitation to take on difficult problems or demanding patients

 Compulsion to order more testing of patients

 Less willingness to take on administrative decisions or activities

 Thoughts about changing careers or limiting practice

 Physical symptoms which are different or worse from normal

 Fatigue, or reduced energy levels

 Loss of enjoyment in practice

 Loss of interest in recreation

 Drawn towards mindless pursuits, e.g. television, internet

 Frustration that no end is in sight

 Stymied by the system from dealing directly with the problem

 Questions about value of persisting in medicine

?? Intrusive thoughts or compulsions

?? Alone in efforts to vindicate myself from an unfair accusation

?? Helpless or hopeless to change the course of events

?? Impulse to do something drastic or dangerous

?? Thoughts about benefit of ending it all

Although it is normal to feel some of these things in the face of a malpractice claim, if you are experiencing as many as 5 of them, then the stress of litigation may be starting to impact your professional as well as your personal life. It is highly advisable to discuss your feelings about what is happening to you with an experienced professional, who may recommend supportive intervention. This is one of the most stressful events in the life of any physician. If you have felt any one of the last five items, you must seek professional help immediately.          2005 Louise B. Andrew MD JD 

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