Setting the Whiplash Record Straight

Today’s article is a reprint from the book Medical Proof of Whiplash by Michael R. Melton & Steven R. Young. I found it pertinent to today’s personal injury climate and highly recommend this resource from James Publishing as an excellent addition for your library. Enjoy.

The authors of a recent critical review of the whiplash literature sum up the problem we face today: over $29 billion per year is spent on whiplash injuries and litigation in the US. It is not surprising, considering the financial stakes, that many medical experts have dedicated their professional careers to one side or another of the whiplash controversy. These experts increasingly are relying on medical and engineering literature to support both sides of the debate over the validity of whiplash syndrome.

Unfortunately, a percentage of these studies are flawed, resulting in conclusions that are not supported by the larger body of whiplash literature; 50% of the studies had 3 or more methodological flaws! The researcher team, headed by Dr. Michael Freeman and Dr. Arthur Croft, carefully reviewed 700 studies for specific statements that were considered to be contrary to the current authors’ understanding of how the majority of the current literature characterizes the biomechanics, pathogenesis and epidemiology of whiplash syndrome.

Significantly, the studies found to contain flaws are the same studies that are frequently presented in court by defense attorneys and expert witnesses as scientific evidence that whiplash is not real.

I know, shocking isn’t it!

The authors of this research come with some very good credentials and I refer to them frequently when writing my narrative reports and preparing for expert witness testimony. Here are their bio’s:

Dr. Michael Freeman is a Forensic Epidemiologist specializing in the application of probability and epidemiologic data to disputed matters. He serves as Clinical Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, where he teaches a course in Forensic and trauma Epidemiology. Dr. Freeman is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Forensic Medicine and Epidemiology – Institute of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Aarhus, Denmark.

Dr. Croft is the director of the Spine Research Institute of San Diego. He has been actively engaged in whiplash research for the past 26 years and co-authored the first textbook on whiplash, Whiplash Injuries: the Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Syndrome, a book on temporomandibular disorders (Whiplash and Temporomandibular Disorders: an Interdisciplinary Approach to Case Management), and now the first serious textbook aimed at the victims of whiplash and their practitioners, Whiplash and Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries: A Guide for Patients and their Practitioners, along with several other books, textbook chapters, and more than 350 professional papers. He is board certified in Orthopedics (American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedists) and is certified in Traffic Accident Reconstruction (Northwestern University’s Traffic Institute), and was appointed as an Independent Medical Examiner by the state of California.

Dr. Croft serves in an editorial and/or manuscript reviewer capacity for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, Journal of Whiplash Related Disorders, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, Journal of the American Chiropractic Association, and the journals Spine, Accident Analysis & Prevention, and Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. In addition to his work in the field of chiropractic, Dr. Croft was a drowning homicide investigator, underwater criminal investigator, and trained hyperbaric chamber operator. Until recently, he was the Diving Medical Officer and an underwater search and recovery diver for the San Diego Sheriff’s Office.

Written by Dr. Kevin Kelly DC, our wonderful chiropractor in Thousand Oaks, CA with Doctors on Liens.