Louisiana Residents’ Mental Health May Be At Risk from Oil Spill

July 9, 2010 - There are many factors that Louisiana health officials are investigating when it comes to the health impact the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill will have on humans. Air quality and skin contamination are the obvious effects being researched, but now the mental health of residents along the Gulf Coast is becoming a matter of concern.

A $10 million funding request has been brought forth to provide help to the state of Louisiana's "Louisiana Spirit" outreach teams, a subdivision of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals - Office of Mental Health. The program was implemented after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to combat the associated mental health fallout from the disaster.

Now as the state of Louisiana faces yet another disaster, officials fear that an increase of stress, anxiety, domestic abuse, substance abuse, depression, and suicide may be a result. Cases of Gulf residents suffering mental health conditions have already surfaced. One of the more widely publicized being the suicide of William Kruse, an Alabama boat captain whose charter boat business was in danger from the oil spill.

The $10 million would come from BP, although it is unclear whether the funds would be from the $20 billion fund set aside for settlements and compensation to victims impacted by the spill, or if it would be part of the growing expenses of the cleanup effort.

Doctors involved in the Louisiana Spirit program are optimistic that BP will honor their need and provide the funding necessary to help protect the citizens of Louisiana from the psychological impact the spill may have.

Similar to other traumatic events that may lead to future mental health issues, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), we may be seeing more cases of mental afflictions 10 or 20 years down the road from current Gulf shore residents. This can cause a rise in medical malpractice cases if doctors fail to properly diagnose and treat these conditions.

Ben Glass Law provides updates on current news stories regarding liability caps and medical malpractice as a service to our clients. We are active with Virginia medical malpractice liability cap cases and have been long involved in reforming their negative impact on deserving victims who have been shortchanged by their limitations. For help with your medical malpractice claims, contact us today - 703-591-9829.

Ben Glass
Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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