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Can serving on a Jury give you PTSD?


Boges

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I think it's a slippery slope to allow someone to get compensation for just hearing about horrific details and not actually experiencing them first hand. As much as I sympathize with how traumatic these details much have been, it's not the state's responsibility to ensure that they don't ruin your life. 

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/juror-at-trial-of-man-found-guilty-of-killing-eight-year-old-tori-stafford-seeks-ptsd-compensation

 

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For more than two months, she watched, listened and pondered over the trial of a man who brutally raped and murdered a Woodstock schoolgirl.

It was the personal toll of the 2012 Michael Rafferty trial that one of the 12 jurors never expected — a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder that’s shaken her to her core.

Symptoms have been debilitating, she says, including memory loss, bouts of extreme anger and a shopping addiction that drained her retirement savings and children’s education plans.

She has recurring visions of being at the crime scene, watching eight-year-old Victoria (Tori) Stafford die — and being unable to save her.

“It’s been horrible. It’s a nightmare,” she said Tuesday. “This has been hell.”

The juror’s identity is protected by court order.

But any recognition of her pain as a juror has been denied by the justice system and the arm of the provincial government whose purpose is to financially compensate victims of crime.

 

 

 

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I'm suggesting that it's a huge slippery slope to allow people on jury's to claim some sort of workman's comp if they hear gruesome details without actually experiencing them. People have to experience unpleasant details all the time. The woman in question knew this was a trial about a child that was brutally raped and murdered, what was she expecting? 

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Do you think someone can get PTSD from being subject day in and day out to the gory details of an 8 year old being raped and murdered? You don't get to choose whether you're dismissed from a jury or not, so "she knew" is not relevant.

Edited by cybercoma
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I think the idea PTSD can be used for a lot of things. Can I claim PTSD for anything that I deem to be traumatic? 

I guess the question really should be, can the woman in question receive disability for just hearing about a horrifically violent act? And wouldn't that set a pretty dire precedent? 

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Please stop answering my very direct question with more questions. What I need to know is if you recognize that someone could get PTSD from sitting through the details of such a trial. Do you recognize that as being possible or not?

Edit: Put the compensation aside for now.

Edited by cybercoma
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But but but, if they answer "yes, it's possible" then they also must embrace that the world is far more complicated than their petty little answers (at least so far) allows for.

This means allowing for complications beyond the "money grab" and the "suck it up, princess" attitudes. 

What next? 

Are you expecting that real world solutions will be sought to prevent jurors in the future to avoid such scenarios? 

How dare you! How dare you treat this world as complex and in need of further comprehension beyond the knee jerk responses! 

Oh and /sarcasm. 

 

 

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If serving on a jury causes PTSD then it only a matter of time before movie theaters will be sued for inducing PTSD.

People are obsessed with labels. Having a label becomes an end in itself.
Labels lead to people exaggerating and fabricating symptoms in order to claim the label.
The prospect of money if one has the label only makes things worse.

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37 minutes ago, TimG said:

If it smells like a cash grab it probably is.
PTSD is turning into the whiplash of the 21th century.
It is way too easy for people to exaggerate or and fabricate symptoms.

Yeah, that was kind of my original thought too, but after thinking about it a bit, I'm not so sure.   I saw a women hit and killed by a car last March, and I was surprised by how much it affected me.   Have you ever experienced something like that?   I'm honestly asking, not trying to be argumentative.  

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4 minutes ago, dialamah said:

Yeah, that was kind of my original thought too, but after thinking about it a bit, I'm not so sure.   I saw a women hit and killed by a car last March, and I was surprised by how much it affected me.   Have you ever experienced something like that?   I'm honestly asking, not trying to be argumentative.  

Would you say you have PTSD then? 

I think the idea of PTSD can be highly abstract and fluid. People have to deal with trauma all the time. I could say that my marriage ending was a traumatic experience that has effected my life in negative ways (positive too however), but beyond my work's EAP, what should society owe me if I've gone through something very unpleasant. Who hasn't? 

Edited by Boges
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28 minutes ago, Boges said:

I think the idea PTSD can be used for a lot of things. Can I claim PTSD for anything that I deem to be traumatic? 

I guess the question really should be, can the woman in question receive disability for just hearing about a horrifically violent act? And wouldn't that set a pretty dire precedent? 

I am not sure that jury members should be entitled to monetary compensation, but I don't think it would be unreasonable for them to be provided counselling in situations described by the OP.

Is claiming disability due to PTSD from *hearing* about a horrific event practical or manageable?   I do not think so.    

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1 minute ago, Boges said:

Would you say you have PTSD then? 

 

Perhaps mildly; for a while it was hard to be on the street where there was traffic and I panicked every time I saw a jaywalker, the first few times I had to stop walking and turn away.   I also tried warning a couple of people about it, but people don't want to know - I just looked a little weird.   I couldn't even think about jaywalking, even on a relatively quiet and safe street for months.   I still feel less safe than I used to, whether a pedestrian or in a vehicle.    

Quote

I think the idea of PTSD can be highly abstract and fluid. People have to deal with trauma all the time. I could say that my marriage ending was a traumatic experience that has effected my life in negative ways (positive too however), but beyond my work's EAP, what should society owe me if I've gone through something very unpleasant. Who hasn't? 

I found EAP really helpful, providing me with tools to deal with the panic in the first few weeks.    And I agree, trauma is part of human life experience; there are degrees of trauma and no doubt people have different tolerances.   Perhaps if I hadn't known the woman who was killed, I'd have been less affected.  Perhaps the woman in the OP is particularly invested in children, and so for her the details of the crime were especially difficult.    I don't know that society owes her a lifetime of support, but I also think it's hard to define someone else's suffering based on our own , but compassion and some help doesn't seem to me to be out of line.  If she cannot access counselling through work, perhaps having it provided to her free of charge would be fair.  

 

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20 minutes ago, Boges said:

If you knew that kind of stuff upsets you, I'm sure the defence wouldn't be eager to have you on that jury. I suspect this wasn't an issue ahead of time. 

She may not have realized it.   I was surprised to be have been so deeply affected, as I'm generally the type of person who moves on rather easily.  

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10 minutes ago, Boges said:

If you knew that kind of stuff upsets you, I'm sure the defence wouldn't be eager to have you on that jury. I suspect this wasn't an issue ahead of time. 

 

Have you ever been to jury selection? I have not, but I believe you will only see the accused and hear the charges read. If you have no knowledge of the case from the media then you have very little idea what you are getting into. I also believe that any exemption you request must be made prior to the selection panel.

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4 minutes ago, ?Impact said:

 

Have you ever been to jury selection? I have not, but I believe you will only see the accused and hear the charges read. If you have no knowledge of the case from the media then you have very little idea what you are getting into. I also believe that any exemption you request must be made prior to the selection panel.

I actually was once. Was asked if the race of defendant was an issue, I said "Not at All" and was promptly challenged by the defence, not sure why. I'm sure if I answered yes, I would have also been challenged. 

I don't know if we are privy to the questions the Defence and Prosecution asked perspective jurors. 

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17 minutes ago, Boges said:

I actually was once. Was asked if the race of defendant was an issue, I said "Not at All" and was promptly challenged by the defence, not sure why. I'm sure if I answered yes, I would have also been challenged. 

I don't know if we are privy to the questions the Defence and Prosecution asked perspective jurors. 

 

A simple "no" might have worked, perhaps the "not at all" was viewed as too enthusiastic and not authentic. Perhaps it was your tie, or t-shirt with crude language, or the way you combed your hair. Counsel does not get to ask you many questions or the kinds of questions they do in the US so it is often just a gut feel for them.

What were you told about the case, just the charges as I suggested above?

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5 minutes ago, ?Impact said:

 

A simple "no" might have worked, perhaps the "not at all" was viewed as too enthusiastic and not authentic. Perhaps it was your tie, or t-shirt with crude language, or the way you combed your hair. Counsel does not get to ask you many questions or the kinds of questions they do in the US so it is often just a gut feel for them.

What were you told about the case, just the charges as I suggested above?

Yeah just the charges, and I obviously got to see the defendant. I was a teenager at the time. Perhaps it was my demographic.

Kind of not the point, unless the juror used her propensity to being traumatized by hearing details after the fact as a reason she shouldn't be on the jury.  I suspect she didn't. 

Edited by Boges
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Answer Cybercoma's simple question....

Can someone get PTSD from being involved and listening to gruesome details about small children being raped and murdered?

Then answer the question of why you think this person would know that she would get PTSD from hearing such a case?   

The movie theatre analogy by TimG is asinine.  People know going into a two hour movie that it's fictional, they can leave or they don't have to go.  Comparing a movie to being on a jury is nonsensical. 

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8 minutes ago, The_Squid said:

Answer Cybercoma's simple question....

Can someone get PTSD from being involved and listening to gruesome details about small children being raped and murdered?

Then answer the question of why you think this person would know that she would get PTSD from hearing such a case?   

The movie theatre analogy by TimG is asinine.  People know going into a two hour movie that it's fictional, they can leave or they don't have to go.  Comparing a movie to being on a jury is nonsensical. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nocebo

People develop symptoms based on what they believe.

If people believe that they can develop PTSD from jury duty they will develop those symptoms.
If people believe they can develop PTSD from gruesome movies or TV they will develop those symptoms.

This is a case where the existence of the diagnosis creates the disease.
If the diagnosis did not exist people would not develop the symptoms under these kinds of conditions.

The question of whether it is 'real' becomes moot.
It is real enough once the symptoms develop but is mistake not to understand how the social environment encourages people to develop symptoms. The prospect of monetary rewards further exacerbates the problem.

 

 

Edited by TimG
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7 minutes ago, The_Squid said:

Answer Cybercoma's simple question....

Can someone get PTSD from being involved and listening to gruesome details about small children being raped and murdered?

Then answer the question of why you think this person would know that she would get PTSD from hearing such a case?   

The movie theatre analogy by TimG is asinine.  People know going into a two hour movie that it's fictional, they can leave or they don't have to go.  Comparing a movie to being on a jury is nonsensical. 

The answer is, I don't know. This woman claims she has it but is receiving no compensations for it and is going to court to get it. That's the more pressing issue.

I guess we should change the Title of the OP to "Should someone get compensation for PTSD caused by being one a jury". Because that's the greater question. 

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1 minute ago, TimG said:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nocebo

People develop symptoms based on what they believe.

If people believe that they can develop PTSD from jury duty they will develop those symptoms.
If people believe they can develop PTSD from gruesome movies or TV they will develop those symptoms.

This is a case where the existence of the diagnosis creates the disease.
If the diagnosis did not exist people would not develop the symptoms.

 

 

True to a point, but not a reason to automatically dismiss someone's experience.    Prior to seeing that woman hit, I would not have considered myself likely to be as distressed as I was.  I had no control over my physical reactions - being unable to continue walking when I saw a jaywalker on the street; the absolute panic when I saw a jaywalker while in the car.    I have worked through most of that, but this didn't happen because I believed I could get PTSD; rather I believed that it wasn't a traumatic enough event for any effect and that in any case, I wasn't a likely candidate.

 

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9 minutes ago, Boges said:

Kind of not the point

 I know, I have been trying to separate the various issues.

 

  • Prior knowledge of what she was in for
  • Prior understand of what affect it would have on her
  • Her choice in the matter
  • Actual affect
  • Responsibility of the state

 

I think the last two are the most contentious. I think it is reasonable to assume she had little knowledge what she was getting into, or even what kind of effect it would have on her. I also don't think she had much choice in the matter. Its up to the experts (and the lying lawyers) to establish the actual affect, there is little we can do from our armchairs. Lets get to the responsibility of the state

2 hours ago, Boges said:

As much as I sympathize with how traumatic these details much have been, it's not the state's responsibility to ensure that they don't ruin your life.

I agree that there is a slippery slope, but the question is where on that slope are we. Since we no longer have conscription, then soldiers have made a free choice to engage in dangerous activities where they may witness events that will affect them. Jury selection however is not voluntary, it is a civic duty. If a voluntary soldier can claim compensation for witnessing events then why can't a mandatory jury member? 

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