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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am not sure that this is a Mental Health question but am

Resolved Question:

Hi, I am not sure that this is a Mental Health question but am unsure who to put the question to. I hope you can point me in the right direction.
I had an accident at work- I fell down a very steep set of stairs at work. After my fall a colleague checked the stairs and found loose stair grips. I suffered multiple injuries from the fall and a chipped sternum and fractured ribs. I still suffer with ongoing back problems. It sounds unbelievable as I am writing this to you now. But my manager ( who is also a first aider ) had planned to meet her husband and was running late. She was called when I was found at the bottom of the stairs. She got me to stand up and walked back to the office with her. To cut a long story short she said I could not stay where I was , So I went with her. She has since said that she offered to take me to hospital but I refused. ( This is not true ) Despite a number of people saying that I was in total shock. My manager has said that she assessed me as having mental capacity to make my own decisions. That I wanted to stand up and I refused to go to hospital. In actual fact I phoned my husband and asked him to take me.
My question is - If someone is in shock could they be assessed as having mental Capacity ? I believe that if some is in shock , they do not act as they would normally.
Please can you advise ?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

Yes, it is possible that a person who has just had a severe injury to experience shock and therefore reduced mental capacity. It takes the mind time to adjust to the threat to the body (or mind itself in the case of mental trauma). For example, when someone is in a car accident, they are often unable to recall the details of the accident clearly. They will say things like "it happened so fast". It is because the mind cannot process the danger and blocks out the more frightening details.

There is a difference between the shock of a severe trauma and a shock such as an accident you can walk away from. A severe trauma, such as soldiers experience in a war, can result in Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. This is where the trauma starts to affect a person's everyday life through nightmares, fears, startle responses and memory block. In these types of reactions, the person usually needs therapy to manage and possibly medication.

The other type of shock, such as falling down stairs like you experienced, can result in temporary memory blocking. You may have a few hours where you cannot recall what happened and your mind takes the time to adjust and get used to the incident. After you have time to recover, you still may not remember exact details but overall you have a good idea of what happened.

You are able to process things and hear what is being said to you during this time, but your overall mental capacity is diminished until you are able to process the accident.

I hope this has helped you,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or need clarification?