Finally, scientific proof that car accident victims aren’t crazy, they really are in pain. If only their doctors would listen to them and take them seriously when they say, even a full year after the car wreck, they are still in pain. A recent study published on Monday in the medical journal Archives of Surgery showed a year after the injury, 63 percent of car wreck victims reported that they still experienced pain related to the injury, with most having pain in more than one region of the body. On average, the patients assessed their pain at 5.5 on a 10-point scale — a level at which they would be expected to have moderate to severe interference with daily activities. The overall conclusion of the study: physicians need to offer better treatment for their patients.
As a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney here in Atlanta, Georgia, whose practice consists largely of helping people who have been severely injured in car wrecks or trucking wrecks, I have heard this from my clients consistently over the last twenty years. Yet, they often can’t seem to get the right treatment from their doctors, or even appropriate referrals to other physicians who might be able to help with alternative treatments. I have always suspected the physicians, strapped for time due to health insurers’ controlling their practices, just aren’t listening to their patients’ complaints. This study seems to confirm exactly what I have thought, and validates the complaints of many of my clients. Doctors simply need to do a better job listening to their patients.
The physician who led the study admitted as much. “I was surprised that the pain was as common and as severe as they reported it to be,” said Dr. Frederick Rivara of the University of Washington in Seattle, who led the study. “The implications are that we need to do a much better job of identifying pain in these patients, treating it adequately and treating it early,” Rivara added in a telephone interview.
I hope the nation’s physicians, especially those right here in Georgia, take notice of this study and change their practices. Their patients, and my clients, really are telling the truth when they say they are in pain.