Rating Feedback for Dr. Palmer (1493014)
'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