Rating Feedback for Dr. Palmer (1493014)

The rating:
'In April last year we brought our 7 weeks old baby boy to Dr. Palmer. After a long examination he said that he suspected our baby to have a serious neurological condition, possibly cerebral palsy. He also said that his vision was not adequate and his muscle tone being abnormal. Our baby did not display any obvious problems and all the doctors/medical professionals couldn't find anything prior to that visit. Based on Dr. Palmerâ??s very premature assessment and judgment, we had to go through numerous tests and procedures. Nothing was found and the boy (now almost 17 months) is completely healthy: walking, running, started to talk. Dr. Palmer caused us tremendous stress and suffering with no apparent reason. In our opinion he is too fast to make very serious statements to the parents prior to any tests and follow-ups and didn't appear to be very knowledgeable. Everything he said proved to be erroneous. We consider ourselves very unlucky that we came to see him. Avoid him at all costs!!!'
I feel that I should respond to this comment, which is not the whole truth and borders on being defamatory.

I was not the only physician to find concerning atypical findings on neurological and developmental assessments. I made a referral for urgent assessment through neurology clinic. The pediatric neurologist, who examined this patient 3 days after I did, also documented concerns about lack of visual attention and abnormal findings on neurologic examination. The neurologist indicated that there were many different possible causes for this presentation; some of them serious, and stated that further investigations would be necessary. I had already referred the patient for MRI of the brain and for extensive blood testing. The neurologist set out to have the MRI done sooner and also ordered an EEG and visual evoked potentials study. The neurologist referred the patient for ophthalmology and physiotherapy assessments apparently not realizing that I had already made those referrals. Fortunately, when assessed by the ophthalmologist 12 days after I saw him, his vision appeared to be normal. Also, fortunately, the other investigations turned out normal.

There is a saying among surgeons that if you donâ??t take out any normal appendices then you are not taking out enough appendices. In other words a surgeon should be suspicious enough that he never makes the deadly mistake of leaving in a diseased appendix. With that degree of caution, sometimes heâ??s going to end up taking out a normal one. Of course that doesnâ??t mean he should abandon careful assessment and judgment and just take out every appendix.

I try to carefully screen for developmental delays and physical abnormalities that could lead to early identification of treatable conditions and improved outcome. I try not to needlessly alarm parents. I didnâ??t diagnose this child with cerebral palsy or blindness, but I was concerned that he might turn out to have one of these or a number of other serious conditions as the cause of his unusual findings at 8 weeks of age. I referred him for appropriate assessments and testing, based on how he was presenting at that time. The parents also wanted specific detailed answers about what might be going on and how serious it might possibly be. I was honest in my answers and not evasive even when it felt uncomfortable knowing that this would be very stressful for them. I donâ??t doubt that this experience caused the parents great anxiety, which I regret. I wish I could have communicated better and found a way to be forthright and avoid generating anxiety, but sometimes thatâ??s not possible. It is easy to say in retrospect that all this fuss was unnecessary. Iâ??m glad for the child (whom I have not seen since 12 weeks of age), and his parents to hear that he is doing very well with normal development.

Dr. Darrell J. Palmer

i would just like to point

i would just like to point out, something, i am a mother that has been seeing a different doctor. and it has been over a year of nothing. he would do a couple tests here and there, but nothing great. i would rather a doctor semd me for multipul tests than nothing at all. i find it funny that dr. palmer had to come on here to deffend what a doctor should be doing.. it honestly is infuriating to me that some doctors dont send them for test.... my over one year old cant keep weight on and is 14 pounds, to witch someone told me (her old dr.) she is just a late bloomer and may not bloom till shes 3 i get to see dr palme tomorrow and i am so excited! you should have been happy that he cared!

We would like to respond to

We would like to respond to Dr. Palmer's comments and say that our original comment is 100% accurate. Prior to the visit to Dr. Palmer no doctors or medical professionals had suspected anything wrong with our baby. This includes our family physician (GP). The visit to Dr. Palmer was on our own initiative. We asked our GP for a referral to a pediatrician - just for a peace of mind. It is true that the pediatric neurologist had suggested further examinations and investigations. But the visit to her was accompanied by a letter from Dr. Palmer. Her opinion may or may not be influenced by Dr. Palmer's letter. Most likely she took it into account and certainly wanted to be on a cautious side. In any case the neurologist stated to us that it was too early to make any conclusions and refused to discuss any possible conditions with us, including naming those in spite of our insistence. This was very correct and professional approach.
We didn't have a problem with the fact of referral for tests or further investigations. Perhaps our child was in a "grey" area and it's certainly always better to be over cautions than to miss early symptoms of a serious condition. The real problem was naming serious conditions to the parents of a baby (our only child), which was not yet proven. All that had to be said that the child doesn't present himself in a typical manner and further investigations are required. By naming serious conditions to us he caused us tremendous and unnecessary stress and grief. His statement was very premature and unusual for a very experienced doctor. This is common sense approach and many doctors that saw our child afterwards (including a well known and respected pediatrician that took over from Dr. Palmer), had agreed with that. It wasn't the right time to mention possible diagnosis to the parents. That's all.

The problem is Dr. Palmer’s lack of basic medical and human ethics as well as his overconfidence.

As a mother I just want to leave the comment for Dr. Palmer – I will never forget you until the day I die.

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