The amount of tissue damage is rarely understood by the patient. The medical terminology is confusing. The final diagnosis may come long after the injury. And each office visit, diagnostic study, procedure, referral, or medication may further alienation if there is delay to await approval.
The patient has decidedly little choice in what transpires or its time frame. His/her anxiety turns to fear which in turn leads to suspicion and distrust.
One of the questions I ask when seeing a post-injury patient is: “Is there anyone involved in your care or your case with whom you are uncomfortable.”
Without fail, the patient then refers to those whom he/she does not trust; those who create a sense of alienation.
In several ways, the role of an injured individual is similar to that of someone in prison. Your individuality is lost and replaced by decisions which may be made independent of your input.
The patient values each passing moment but soon realizes that he is the only one feeling this time-urgency. All others involved in his case have lives of their own, other commitments and often quite different priorities.
The patients are most often isolated and making themselves and their families quite miserable.