Academy of Chiropractic’s

Lawyers PI Program


 From the Desk of:


"Initial History Language"

I have read 1000's of narrative reports and occasionally I come across a brilliantly written passage. Dr. William O'Donnell of Corvallis, Oregon wrote one such paragraph. His use of language is brilliant in description and a model for all. Bravo to Dr. O'Donnell.

He wrote:

Initial History: John Doe is a 51-year-old construction worker who was involved in a rear end motor vehicle accident on March 17, 2010. He presented to this office on March 20, 2010. Mr. Doe noted complaints since this time including neck pain radiating into his left arm/forearm/pinky, mid back pain, and low back pain radiating down his right leg. When questioned about his various pains he noted that he was currently at a pain level of 8/10 for complaints in his cervical spine, thoracic spine, and lumbar spine. He denies radiation into the right upper extremity and the left lower extremity though he noted that radiation did exist going from his neck into his left arm along the inside of his arm to his pinky and from his low back into the right posterior thigh. Dejerine's triad was positive which meant that the patient’s pain and radiating pain were aggravated by coughing, sneezing, and straining during defecation. The patient could not identify anything that was palliative including the medications were prescribed at the emergency room. Provocation was through any movement. Quality of his pains were described as constant aching and deep with a sharp quality upon any movement. In addition, the radiation down his posterior thigh was described as pins and needles. The patient noted that the pain was getting worse since this accident and that he was unable to sleep the night before. He noted difficulty concentrating as well.

This past week, lecturing in Connecticut, one of the lawyers commented that he will never use a doctor who can't write like a professional and that many doctors misspell words. That is the "death-knell" of his relationship with them. This is a subject we discussed long-ago. Language matters greatly in your relationships with lawyers. The written language is their primary tool.