Yesterday, we received an anonymous email (via our share a story page) from an injured worker who has experienced a horrible independent medical examination at the hands of a Victorian doctor Chris Baker, an Occupational Physician. This horrid appointment -as s/he rightly calls it has- unfortunately stayed with him/her for years. Dr Chris Baker is now listed on our “known hired guns to avoid” page!
Workcover independent medical examinations: a horrid experience
This is part of a letter of complaint the anonymous injured worker sent to my his/her case manager after an assessment with Dr Chris Baker:
- Being consulted from behind a screen that could easily have been moved. I had to lie down for the majority of the appointment as I was in a great deal of pain. Dr Baker didn’t mind me resting obviously but didn’t feel the need to look at me while he asked his questions. I find this very unprofessional and incredibly demoralising and uncomfortable and have never come across such treatment with any practitioner. Dr Baker sat behind his desk and only saw me when he had to examine me and I had to stand up. [WTF!!!]
- Questions that Dr Chris Baker chose to ask such as: How long have I been married, how successful was our (my other half and my) business, did we have regular clientele, did I have any other source of income and how did I see myself earning an income in the future? I don’t feel these questions were necessary nor relevant to assessing my ‘work history’ or my capacity. No other Occupational Physician has asked me these questions before.
- Not being given enough time to answer questions and being rushed and cut off in mid sentence. I feel this clearly did not allow Dr Baker to get a full understanding of my issue. I feel it impossible that Dr Baker, no matter how much experience, can assess my condition of 25 months during such a short and abrupt appointment.
Clearly one of his ideas of distributing leaflets indicates he did not understand or listen to me and that he is not very perceptive, even after peering into my bag. And though Dr Baker asked ‘did you put on your Sunday best for me?‘, after he saw me struggle to get my shoes on, it wasn’t enough attention for him to see the inability to carry many personal items. I am not quite sure how he thinks I may be able to push a trolley with weight, bend down and up or carry this weight.
This horrid appointment has stayed with me for years. How can this be allowed?
We thank “Anonymous” from the cockles of our heart for having the courage to share this horrible story
It is very well known that some IMEs (independent medical examiners) have a reputation for being pro WorkCover; that is, they are more likely to provide a report that is favourable to the claims manager’s interests and hence detrimental to the injured workers.
These include independent medical examiners, such as Dr Chris Baker, who are engaging in unorthodox practices, designed to intimidate injured workers and who are also known as HIRED GUNS.
There are quite a few things you can do to protect yourself during and independent medical examination (a must read). Yesterday Atlas Legal Au also gave us a very useful commentary about bullying and harassment and also about keeping ‘evidence’:
if you are called into a meeting about your complaint, its investigation, or work performance as a result of you lodging a complaint about harassment and bullying you are entitled to electronically record any such conversation so long as the other side is aware that you will be recording the conversation. The same goes with Doctors and or specialists. Time and again, insurance company doctors and specialists treat injured workers with disdain and contempt. If you wish to do so you should be allowed to electronically record everything that is said in your consultation with that Doctor. That is the most accurate way to keep a record of what was said during the consultation as well as a way to make sure that the Doctor remains professional and courteous during your consultation….. Read more