As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

Post Jury Duty depression.

Fig-DFig-D Tustin, CA, USRegistered User regular
edited June 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
(Please excuse the bad grammar and sentence structure. I haven't been feeling well and it's about 3:30am my time.)

I had always heard horror stories about jury duty, about how it consumes a good chunk of time and how our legal system is rather flawed, but I have a different kind of problem. I was chosen for a jury and served for about two weeks on a medical malpractice trial. The trial is over now, and we found a verdict, so I can finally talk about it (if you didn't know, you can talk about a trial your on while its in progress. If they catch you it can lead to a mistrial).

Story is basically this, a guy who works in manual labor starts feeling sharp pain in his leg. He goes to a hospital and is diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, parosteal osteosarcoma. He is told to wait for two weeks because the hospital has just recruited an expert on this sort of cancer from New York. Apparently this type of cancer as a very low rate of recurrence if operated on properly, 95% of cases have no recurrence within the first 5 years. The expert shows up, does the operation to remove the tumor by removing part of the patients femur and putting in cadaver bone, tells the guy that the operation was a success (and all evidence does indeed point to a successful surgery) and the guy goes home coming back the hospital every once in a while to treat an infection in the area of the surgery.

Almost a year passes, and the pain returns again. He has two small tumors where the first one was and a large mass up by the upper surgical margin. The surgeon takes out the two cancerous smaller tumors while the pathologist (sample studier) looks at the biopsy (mass sample) from the larger mass. She thinks it's cancer and so does her supervisor, but it's sent out for second opinion to the MAYO Clinic. A word famous pathologist says it's not cancer, claiming it to be heterotopic ossification (calcification of surrounding muscle caused by issues between the patients bone and the cadaver bone.). He explains his reasoning and the pathologist at the patient's hospital agrees, changes her diagnosis, and the surgeon leaves the mass alone (heterotopic ossification isn't cancerous or malignant).

Weeks pass, and the assumed harmless growth has increased in size to that of a soccer ball (I'd say football but that might confuse some). Upon reexamination the growth is revealed to be recurrent cancer and to make matters worse it has stepped up in grade (the higher the grade the greater the chance of spreading elsewhere.). At this point the patient takes his problem elsewhere, and another hospital performs an emergency amputation in hopes stopping it from spreading to other areas of his body.

Months later, an MRI scan shows that there may be two small tumors in his left lung. Problem is, MRIs can't pick up tumors until they are a certain size. It is found that the patient actually has 20 tumors in his chest. He probably won't live to see 2009. He's down a lung, missing a leg, bound to a wheel chair and has an assisted breathing tube... and he was looking right at me. Myself, and 11 other people would decide if the first hospital was responsible for letting his cancer get to the point where it spread to his chest and will later kill him.

There wasn't much evidence to prove this. Quite the opposite, it seemed like they did everything by the books. The misdiagnoses of the tumor was the most questionable, but the surgeon and hospital were the defendants, the pathologist was minor as far as the plaintiff's case was concerned. The lawyer tried to pin it on the surgeon, and made a lot of claims, but trials are about evidence.

We found the hospital not guilty, in a vote of 10 to 2, I was one of the 10. I did what I felt was right. I think the doctors in that hospital did their jobs, did what any one of us would have done.

Why then, do I feel like shit? I'd love to hand out money to everyone who has had to go through the pain and suffering related to this disease, but I can't justify taking money from a hospital that was trying to provide the best care for it's patient to do it. The man will be dead soon, his young wife left with nothing but legal bills after he's gone. He was 24 when he was diagnosed, only two years older than I, and he'll die before he reaches 30. I can't stop thinking about how pathetic he looked, how hopeless, bound to that chair, breathing out of a tube. I can't shake the image from my mind.

I don't feel like doing anything. My hobbies don't cheer me up, I've been alienating my friends, I'm not sleeping well, the list goes on. I did what I know was right, I don't question that and I haven't changed my mind about it. I just wish I felt better about it.

I'm not even sure what sort of help I'm asking for here, but if you've got any suggestions about depression or dealing with guilt I'll take what I can get.

SteamID - Fig-D :: PSN - Fig-D
Fig-D on

Posts

  • corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Modern society is so isolated and removed from death that seeing it face-to-face can be upsetting. Doubly so if it's someone your age - it really brings home one's own mortality. I'm sure you'll feel better given a couple of weeks though. It's just an inevitable part of life.

    corcorigan on
    Ad Astra Per Aspera
  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Kind of a survivor's guilt thing going on, it sounds like. He was young and he got shitty luck and you feel bad about it because in some small way you did not make his life better - even if you did legal and correct thing it feels like you didn't do the right thing. But you have to remember that it isn't your fault, that you didn't do anything wrong.

    You might not feel like doing anything with your friends, but I think you should try anyway. Get together with them, talk to them about it. If they know how you're feeling, they can help you through this bit of depression you've got right now, and believe me, talking about this kind of thing with someone face to face is a hell of a lot more effective than words on a screen.

    DarkPrimus on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    His and his wife's shitty situation is not because of you, you were doing what was best for society as a whole, the more lawsuits are getting filed every time someone makes an honest mistake the more scared everyone will be of ever doing anything out of the ordinary.

    Grumpy cynicism aside: it is important you talk about this with others, letting it linger inside your brain is not going to cheer you up, if you can tell the story to others you can create some distance between it and your own mind.

    Aldo on
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    You feel like shit because regardless of whether or not the hospital was to blame, this guy is fucked up and you feel like what you did should be able to help. But that's not your role as a juror. If you feel like you've made the correct and fair decision, as you say, then that's what you were supposed to do.

    Aside from that, we then have this issue. If you want to now go and try to help this guy then there's nothing stopping you doing that now the trial is over. You could see if there are any charities you can volunteer for/donate to, and that kind of thing.

    EDIT: Surely there must be something set up to counsel people like this after jury duty. The nature of it means that quite a few people feel like this afterward.

    Willeth on
    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Also, keep in mind that while medicine has come a long way, we still can't fix everyone.

    oldsak on
  • DrFrylockDrFrylock Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Give it time, you'll feel better. Sometimes people do the best they can and bad things still happen. In your life, you will do the best you can and bad things will still happen. It's just sort of the way things are.

    DrFrylock on
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Snap out of it. I'm not sure that's a very helpful phrase, but all you can do is decide to shake the feelings off.

    What's done is done. And you felt like you did the right thing. If it means anything, I also feel that you did the right thing. Your logic is completely sound.

    But please...please don't alienate the people around you and get sucked into a well of depression because someone else's life sucks. Misery loves company and it looks like his misery is dragging you down too.

    There are some harsh realities in life. Some things just suck and some choices we make really between a rock and a hard place. Some dilemmas are morally insoluble.

    All you can do is be happy with your own situation and move on.

    Drez on
    Switch: SW-7690-2320-9238Steam/PSN/Xbox: Drezdar
  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    oldsak wrote: »
    Also, keep in mind that while medicine has come a long way, we still can't fix everyone.

    Very true. Perhaps especially so for cancer. Its a lesson we'll all learn in life, sooner or later. Shitty, shitty stuff happens to all sorts of people, and it can be totally random (or seem that way) as to who comes through fine, and who ends up with a situation like the man in this trial.

    Willeth raises a good point, there may be counselling available for jurors, I'd recommend contacting someone from the court and see what the options are. Alternatively, theres various counselling options available depending on where you want to go and how you want to handle it. You may want to talk to your doctor as well, you've got a lot of the standard depression symptoms.

    If you feel like maybe doing something to help people with cancer, you could look into volunteering for a cancer related charity, there are all sorts of those, or participating in one of many charity runs/walks they hold. It might make you feel like you're doing something positive for people in this man's situation.

    I'm not sure you should just wait and hope this gets better as others have said. I think you should take some action to try and work through this.

    Corvus on
    :so_raven:
  • Fig-DFig-D Tustin, CA, USRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Well, I haven't had work to go to and take this off my mind yet. I go back to my regular work schedule tomorrow so I'll have to get out of the house then. That's been part of the problem, I think, I haven't gone anywhere or done anything for the past 3 days. I'm not the type to leave the house by myself without any plans to specifically go somewhere for something or meet up with friends, so I think just getting out of here will help at least a little.

    Fig-D on
    SteamID - Fig-D :: PSN - Fig-D
  • starlanceriistarlancerii Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Corvus wrote: »
    oldsak wrote: »
    Shitty, shitty stuff happens to all sorts of people, and it can be totally random (or seem that way) as to who comes through fine, and who ends up with a situation like the man in this trial.

    I agree - From the way you put things, it does look like the hospital / doctors did everything they could, but sometimes, shit happens. From another point of view, the doctors did everything they could, there's no reason to believe there's any negligence on their part. Looking at it from that point of view, it'd be pretty shitty to convict them of malpractice, which often ruins both their finances and any possible future careers.

    Yeah, it sucks being the guy. It sucks being misdiagnosed, dying young, and leaving a whole mess of legal and medical bills behind (if its any consolation, usually lawyers are hired on contingency - if you don't win, they don't get paid). But it's not really the hospital's fault.

    At this point, I really suggest that you just get out of the house and do something. Go for a walk, go exercise.

    I hope you feel better soon.

    starlancerii on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    You might feel worse if you caused the hospital to pay millions upon millions of dollars, robbing them of money to spend on other stuff.
    Like, life support, or something.


    It's a shity situation all around, and you feel and know what you did is right.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • TauntulasTauntulas Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    you shouldn't go to the hospital and ask for medical help, if your just going to sue them anyway.
    specially if you are genetically inferior to those who can take the time to become a doctor

    thats also why health insurance is so high nowadays.

    Tauntulas on
  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Tauntulas wrote: »
    you shouldn't go to the hospital and ask for medical help, if your just going to sue them anyway.
    specially if you are genetically inferior to those who can take the time to become a doctor

    thats also why health insurance is so high nowadays.

    Dude, seriously, don't bring that shit up in here. If you want to be like that, please go to D&D.

    OP: You did the right thing. The doctors' did the best they could. No-one could ask for anything else. It's sad for the guy, but he couldn't be helped, through no fault of anyone. You will feel better in time, because you know inside (even if you can't feel it right now) that you did everything right.

    Lewisham on
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    If you are truly depressed depressed (which is not possible to diagnose over the internet, even if we were qualified to do so) then time and hobbies might not cut it. But it hasn't been long enough since the trial that you could be reasonably expected to not be feeling depressed (with the lower case "d") so I do agree that you should give yourself time to sort through your feelings.

    If after a few weeks you aren't feeling any better, or are feeling more "blah" or "blue" or however you want to describe it, then you should seek professional treatment for possible clinical depression.

    Regina Fong on
  • ChanceChance Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    If you do feel yourself sliding into depression, do whatever the hell you can to claw your way out of it. Go hang out with friends, watch movies, build something with LEGO. If you play WoW, spend your time helping lowbies - it gives one a warm fuzzy feeling.

    I think a lot of the above posters nailed it on the head - you did do the right thing, but you became relatively close to someone who suffered very badly - it's only natural to feel very shitty about what that guy went through.

    But seriously, do whatever it takes to re-engage with life. This may sound over-dramatic, but: Depression can absolutely destroy your life. Not to mention the toll it takes on those who care about you.

    Chance on
    'Chance, you are the best kind of whore.' -Henroid
  • ChanceChance Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Also, counseling. You don't need Dr. Freud and his Big Bag of Pills, but just talking about what you're going though can help immensely and allow you to gain some perspective.

    Chance on
    'Chance, you are the best kind of whore.' -Henroid
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I think the key here is that you haven't had anything to occupy you. When you're not working and you're not going out and doing anything else it's easy to wallow in pity, depression, and so on. You're back at work tomorrow, right? I mean I cannot predict what'll happen to you, but you've already stated that you think that had something to do with it - the lack of things to occupy your time - and I would have to agree that not sitting at home all day with mounds of time to think and rethink things will be a massive help.

    Drez on
    Switch: SW-7690-2320-9238Steam/PSN/Xbox: Drezdar
  • TrillianTrillian Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Cancer's a bitch.
    It's not his fault
    It's not his surgeon's fault
    It happens. Even if surgery had been performed immediately, two weeks would not have made a huge difference in that guy's prognosis.
    Now not taking out the mass that was beyond the surgical margin was a bit of a mistake; those should always go, but oh well. I've only studied cancer ad nauseum; I'm no physician.

    Basically, everyone makes mistakes. You did not make a mistake. It's time to enjoy your own life while you have it.

    Trillian on

    They cast a shadow like a sundial in the morning light. It was half past 10.
  • EverywhereasignEverywhereasign Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Try getting out and doing some exercise, go for a run, bike ride, whatever you like. While you're exercising work through everything you're feeling. Don't try to hold things in, or think about something else, try to work through the emotions. If you have someone you're close to and would understand, you can ask them to come with you, and be a sounding board. Let them know you just need someone to talk to and that if all they do is hold your hand or give you a shoulder to cry on it's okay.

    Typing everything out is a great start, try going over the same stuff with a friend or family member. Add in how things made you feel, the verdict, having to look at the man, the doctors etc.

    There's nothing wrong with getting back to work, and into your normal pattern, but make sure you've dealt with the emotions you've been going through, pushing them down is not the best answer.

    This may sound all touchy feely, but it really truly works. It's stupid, but everyone deals differently, so don't be ashamed or embarrassed about how you feel or what your reactions are/were.

    Everywhereasign on
    "What are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the goddamn Batman!"
  • CrystalMethodistCrystalMethodist Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Your job as a member of the jury was to determine whether the hospital's employees committed criminal negligence or malice. Obviously I cannot have any opinion one way or another without seeing the trial, but it didn't sound like anyone had any malice or negligence at all. They sent the sample to the freaking MAYO clinic, the best cancer hospital in the world, and they said that it wasn't cancer and provided logical reasons on which multiple doctors reached consensus.

    Your crisis shouldn't be "did I fuck up?" Your job had nothing to do with that man's life, and only to do with the failure of those doctors to do their jobs. It seems like you got (reasonably) really sad about seeing how screwed that guy got, and how someone's fate can change in seconds due to factors completely out of their control. The way you've described it, it seems like you feel powerless to help even though you were technically empowered some way in this whole debacle, and now you feel guilty that you didn't use your power to "help" the man by finding the doctors guilty. Now you feel like you're part of the problem, like another factor weighing against that man's life in a long series of him getting screwed by others.

    Don't.

    You have no control over that man's fate, only over the fate of the doctors. You made the right decision.

    If you feel powerless, if you want to help, have you thought about volunteer work? There are lots of people in really shitty situations that absolutely need someone like you (who clearly has a lot of empathy) to lend a hand. Some suggestions would be volunteering at a hospice, helping out at youth groups, helping out families in need, etc. The shit that goes down in a single day in places like the DRC and Darfur are literally unfathomable even after you start hearing the stories.

    Don't just take "man, the world is fucked up" away from this experience. Try and figure out how to make things better and then follow through.

    CrystalMethodist on
  • Fig-DFig-D Tustin, CA, USRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Thanks for all the advice and support guys. I forced myself to call up some buddies yesterday so I could get out of the house and that definitely helped. It's still something that's present in the back of my head, and when I'm not actively doing anything I can still see the image of the plaintiff sitting in his wheelchair with one leg obviously in a lot of pain and heavily medicated, but I do think I did the right thing. I may look into ways to do my small part for people, I'm on the Folding@home webpage right now and I like the idea of adding some of my PC's computing power to the study of future medicines.

    I'll be alright, time is a wonderful healer, I just felt really down after the trial. I hate seeing people go through that sort of thing. See, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002, and my grandfather on my mother's side was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year. I kept thinking about how I would have felt if my dad had been given the same sort of death sentence, I would have been angry to. Chances are I'll run into prostate cancer later down the road and I can only hope the doctor's will do the best they can for me. No one is perfect, but I like to think that the people who make a career out of helping others do their best.

    Fig-D on
    SteamID - Fig-D :: PSN - Fig-D
  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I spent 5-10 minutes trying to think of the appropriate thing to say here, but I can't come up with the right words. It's not your fault, and it's really unfortunate what happened to this guy. He was dealt a lousy hand and the doctors did what they thought was right. It's sad, but it happens.

    Zombiemambo on
    JKKaAGp.png
Sign In or Register to comment.