In medical parlance, a term applied to the counterbalancing of some defect of structure or function by some other special bodily development. The body possesses a remarkable power of adapting itself even to serious defects, so that disability due to these passes oﬀ after a time. The term is most often applied to the ability possessed by the heart to increase in size, and therefore in power, when the need for greater pumping action arises in consequence of a defective valve or some other abnormality in the circulation (see also HEART, DISEASES OF; CIRCULATORY SYSTEM OF THE BLOOD). A heart in this condition is, however, more liable to be prejudicially aﬀected by strains and disease-processes, and the term ‘failure of compensation’ is applied to the symptoms that result when this power becomes temporarily insuﬃcient.
Compensation also refers to the ﬁnancial compensation awarded to an individual who has been injured or made ill as a result of wrongful action or inaction by another individual or organisation. NHS trusts are increasingly being sued for compensation because patients believe that they have had unsatisfactory or damaging treatment. This is costing the NHS over £1 billion a year. (See RISK MANAGEMENT.)
Compensation neurosis Compensation neurosis or ‘traumatic’ neurosis is a psychological reaction to the prospects of compensation. It is a condition about which specialists disagree. Suﬀerers complain of a range of symptoms that may be a genuine consequence of their condition or an exaggerated response.