Three years later, Dr. Baldwaithe received a letter, alleging that his treatments had caused fracture of a vertebra and payment was demanded for permanent disability and loss of income. Hospital records did indicate that there was a healed fracture of the L3 vertebra, without displacement. Time frames and etiologies could not be determined. The patient did not recall telling Dr. Baldwaithe she had fallen; in fact, she denied it. Dr. Baldwaithe's records showed she had written it in her own handwriting. The patient further denied having any pain when she first saw Dr. Baldwaithe. It was also noted in Dr. Baldwaithe's records that he had explained to Ms. June not to return home on that day. Dr. Baldwaithe's records were clear, complete, and also noted that when she returned home, she said she planned to visit her family doctor immediately. The records show that it took Ms. June approximately three months to do so.
Outcome: Due to Dr. Baldwaithe's documentation of patient care, the plaintiff's attorney was unable to find a chiropractic expert that would come forward and refute Dr. Baldwaithe's care.
Prevention: Thanks to Dr. Baldwaithe's clear and complete history, record keeping, and documentation, the plaintiff's attorney dropped the case. Whether you are dealing with an emergency or a chronic patient, you must take the time to completely document histories, complaints, accidents, etc.
This case study is provided from the OUM Group Chiropractor Program Claims files. The study is based on actual incidents, however circumstances have been changed.
Dennis Semlow, D.C.