The great majority of health professionals who are involved in personal injury cases are ethical. They are anxious to weed out the chiselers, knowing that the oaths of their profession are being outraged. There is, however, a minority who abuse their authority in attempts to earn more money out of it. These health care professionals flout the fiber of the profession as they regularly engage in padding bills, in fee splitting with specialists in both medicine and the law, in instituting courses of treatment that are not needed for conditions that do not exist, in referring patients for X-Rays not indicated, laboratory tests that are unnecessary and even for operations that are not really needed. They sell their opinions, subvert their patient’s desire to return to work, falsely testify under oath and even alter not only their own office records but also hospital records.
The chiseling doctor finds an open-sesame in their field. The orientation of the personal injury law and its administration is directed towards protecting the rights of the injured individual. The presumptions are always in the claimant’s favor not only when the question of accidental injury is involved but also when it comes to medical diagnosis, need for medical treatment, and evaluation of disability. It is for these reasons that an attorney must constantly be on the alert in spotting medical charlatans and frauds.
The venality of this type of medical practice is all the worse because in many cases workers legitimately injured and disabled are routed to these so-called compensation doctors by a friend, by the union representative of attorney, only to suffer from lack of competent care.
Too often the best medical care is not provided by the compensation doctor. Paradoxically, this type of doctor is often hailed as great by the patient and his family because they win substantial money awards from boards or commissions. They do not realize the amount of harm that has been done by the doctors, inept or dishonest ministrations which led to the extravagant award.
One of the weaknesses of workmen’s compensation administration is its failure to provide adequate and workable supervision of the quality of medical care injured workmen receive. There is no doubt but that the unlimited free choice given workers to select their doctors had led to poor selections, to over-treatment and faulty treatment. The principles of free choice are so rightly interpreted by administrative bodies than an attorney finds his hands tied when he is confronted with cases of improper medical treatment. This is one of the main reasons that more disabled individuals are not being compensated properly.