A RETIRED UCC lecturer and neurosurgeon has said that long-term whiplash is a myth and has urged doctors to stop diagnosing patients as suffering from it and judges to think twice on ruling in favour of compensation claimants.
Dr Charles Marks claims that there is a culture of secondary gain in Ireland by claiming cash off the back of a diagnosis of long-term whiplash and had dismissed it as something which is peddled for big business.
He has pointed to research carried out in Lithuania where there is not a culture of claiming compensation for chronic neck pain by crash victims and doctors and insurance companies do not acknowledge it.
“It's become almost recognised in this country. You get a rear end shunt, you get a bit of neck pain and that's worth ten of fifteen grand. We just need to think again about it,” he said.
Dr Marks said that insurance premiums would be driven down if Irish doctors and judges change their thinking and added that he was speaking from personal experience of recovering from a neck injury.
“When I was an intern 35 years ago, I bust my neck. I was lucky that it didn't damage my spinal cord. I had a big operation and spent months in a brace. Within six months, I was perfect with no pain at all. If you go and visit the spinal injuries unit, do they have chronic pain? No they don't,” he said.
“I know I'm groing to tread on people's toes. There are lots of people out there who think they are suffering from whiplash and will be grossly offended by what I say,” he added.
The former neurosurgeon called for Irish doctors to take responsibility for their diagnoses and judges would follow suit.
“Firstly we must inform doctors because we're all writing reports saying 'this man is suffering from his whiplash and it affects his job and he can't sleep at night'. We're writing reports saying all this rubbish. Secondly, hopefully a few judges might take note and ask 'are we really coughing up all this money for nothing?'.
“Change the thinking of doctors and judges will be more ruthless. The evidence is that whiplash doesn't exist,” he added.