Some years ago, I was called upon by a plaintiff’s attorney to evaluate his client in relation to a personal injury lawsuit. She was a 55-year-old woman who had tripped on an ice-covered sidewalk and fractured an ankle. She also bumped her head, but had not lost consciousness or sustained any other physical injury. The attorney wanted to know if in addition to the fractured ankle, she’d sustained any psychiatric injury. If so, he would incorporate my opinion into the court papers he was filing for her lawsuit.
Mrs. Smith arrived at my office and we talked for an hour and a half. She had undergone appropriate treatment for the fractured ankle. For several months, she’d experienced considerable pain and difficulty from the injury, but had recuperated and was going about her usual routines with no limitations. When I saw her, she was neither depressed nor anxious; and presented with no psychiatric complaints. Of course, there had been pain and the customary problems associated with the injury itself and her rehabilitation; but those difficulties were in the past and did not figure into the life she was leading when she met with me.