Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program

Quickie Consult 175

From the Desk of Dr. Mark Studin
Academy of Chiropractic
Preamble: Many of the issues I bring to you are very small, yet each issue is just that, an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then you will be able to build and more importantly, focus on the bigger issues...a larger practice and more family time.

“Narrative Alert”

“All current studies being published today are showing that these injured areas will become degenerative at a much faster rate than would otherwise be expected.  Therefore, he can expect his spine to show increased arthritic changes in the future. On the pain disability questionnaire Mr. Smith’s scored 96 points.  Based on my experience in cases like this one and referenced by the Sixth edition of the “AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment”, Mr. Smith has suffered 4% impairment to his body as a whole from this and accident.” 


This language was taken directly from a doctor’s narrative report to a lawyer. Let’s break it down. First, read the last few words...Horrible grammar. Inexcusable!


From the top:


In the first sentence, the doctor reports what “will become.” My first question is how does the doctor know that? Does the doctor have a crystal ball or a time machine to go into the future? The answer is a resounding NO. That is not my opinion, that is the opinion of courts nationwide. You can only report “what is” on your patient and you cannot speculate. It is all nonsense and you will look the fool on paper or on the witness stand. This is one prime reason for lawyers to NOT work with you. They will not tell you, they will not be disrespectful and correct your ways because you are the doctor and the expert. They will simply never work with you. They have lots of doctors as choices to refer their clients to.


The second sentence, “...he can expect his spine to show increased arthritic degeneration in the future.” Although I believe this statement to be true and research has revealed it to hold true in a general population, it once again goes into speculation and has no place in a narrative report.

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