Independent Medical Examiners ('IMEs') are often briefed to answer multiple complex and important(for insurer,solicitor, court and examinee) issues relating to often remote and often poorly documented events.They are often in a difficult position as they practise in a most adversarial system at times. They are briefed with potential to become witnesses as experts of their specialty -not witnesses of fact.
Sometimes IMEs are briefed with no radiology films.I do NOT rely on radiologists' reports for a variety of reasons,including I like to see the images myself, radiologists use various nomenclature systems (se my other news article on this subject) and what someone refers to as 'mild' may be 'severe'! There is no reason why the IME should be withheld the films noting the expectations of them.
A helpful brief includes:
1. The examinee's written and signed statement of events,2. The insurance certification,
3. The police/ambulance /ED department reports,
4. The treating doctors' actual contemporaneous notes-not just reports-actual notes-the best records are those closest in time to the injury i.e. contemporaneous,
5. All relevant previous medical notes to assess co-morbidites and any evidence of developing pathology that may not be readily apparent to all involved after the subject incident,
6. All specialist referral ,notes and reports,
7. All operation and hospital records.
8 List of current medications and allied health treatments.
9. Results of blood tests and other investigations.
10.Other IME /specialist reports to provide background on symptom/sign/clinical progression or regression.
The most accurate IME reports will be those based on and briefed with the above high quality data-best for ALL parties.
Dr Michael Coroneos is a senior Brisbane Neurosurgeon.
CIME MASE FRACS FACS)USA) FRCS(Glasg) FRCS(EDIN)SN FRCS(IRE) FRCS(ENG) FAIM MB BS(1st Class Honours UQ 1980) MAPS MNSA MNSQ
National Senior RACS Clinical Examiner. Adjunct A/Professor.
All patients and brief preparers should obtain their own medical and legal advice. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Dr Micahel Coroneos.
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