What to do after an accident in Panama City FL (Chiropractic or Medical)
Accidents happen. But finding the right doctor and treatment should not be an accident. After an accident you are faced with many challenges not the least of which is how to find the right doctor to fix your problems.
Commonly people first seek care at the local emergency room most commonly Bay Medical or Gulf Coast Hospitals and if the injuries sustained are significant then this is where the person should indeed go. People should remember these emergency rooms are designed to evaluate how serious your problem is and determine if the injuries that you have sustained are life threatening. Emergency rooms are not designed to render treatment for non life threatening conditions such as are commonly seen after an accident. If your condition is not an emergency then most often the ER will give you some short term medications and release you with instructions to follow up with another doctor if you continue to have problems. Many times soft tissue injuries such as torn ligaments, sprains and strains as well as concussions are underestimated by the patient. Left untreated and unchecked these injuries can lead to permanent damage and lifetime consequences.
At this point, patients can become confused about their treatment and get lost in the shuffle of what to do. They are constantly besieged by advertisements by lawyers telling them to come and see them and OPEN a claim and are then being called by insurance carriers trying to get them to CLOSE the claim ( sometimes for a few pennies). The question that needs to be answered BEFORE you make a decision is “AM I INJURED” and is the treatment of these injuries going to be short or long or permanent? Your insurance person cannot answer that question nor can any attorney that you see. The only person that can truly answer these questions is a doctor who is trained in the evaluation and detection of both the obvious injuries and the more subtle injuries that can occur in motor vehicle accidents.
So which kind of doctor? This may depend on where you live and what is available in your area but typically it should be someone who has the following qualifications and services:
1) Experience: The doctor should be familiar with trauma cases and how to treat them as well as be able to articulate the process of recovery so the patient understands their treatment. Look for doctors who have received additional training in this area and who have treated these types of cases for some time. Chiropractors are commonly used for the types of trauma that relate to the neck and back injuries sustained in a car accident but other doctors may be necessary to achieve full healing such as neurologist, orthopedics, and pain management physicians. Look for offices that offer not only Chiropractic treatment but also maintain a Board Certified pain management physician on staff to help in the evaluation and treatment of significant injuries. Look for Accident reconstruction training and applied spinal biomechanics training in the doctors resume as well as certification to perform Impairment Ratings per the American Medical Association guidelines.
2) Services: Does the office offer the types of services that I will need? Many different types of treatment can be useful in the restoration and repair of the types of injuries seen in motor vehicle accidents. Does the office have a fully maintained pain management suite with state of the art equipment including a C-arm fluoroscope (video x-ray machine) which allows the doctors to see directly the source of the pain and allows documentation of what procedures are being done. Look for a state of art decompression table, the DRX9000C which allows doctors to treat not only injuries to the cervical spine but also the lumbar spine for herniated discs and spinal degenerative changes. A full line of physical therapy should be offered from directed exercises to Ultrasound, Electrical Muscle Stimulation and Interferential current and cold laser treatments.
3) Does the office accept these types of cases: Many doctors will not accept cases that have the possibility of litigation including car accident cases. You need to know this before waiting weeks to see a doctor just to find out that will not even accept the auto insurance and just bill your regular insurance our you personally. A good office works with all carriers in the area and also works with local and out of state attorneys if needed to make sure that you receive the treatment that you need.
4) Will the doctor work with attorneys or go to court? This can be key in many cases. In this area of Bay County we see commonly that doctors get initially involved in cases but when the case seems like it may go to court they back off of the case and leave the patient without a doctor to substantiate their injuries. This leaves the patient and the attorney in a real situation and should never be done. Ask if your condition requires that you go to court will the doctor take time out to testify on your behalf.
Picking a doctor in Panama City or anywhere in the country as you can see can be a daunting experience and most people are subjected to such much misinformation that finding the right treatment can at sometimes seem impossible but with a little time and research hopefully you will choose properly. The choice can change the direction of your life as improperly treated or neglected joint injuries commonly become permanent problems that can plague you for life but a multidisciplinary treatment program can help you to repair and heal at the greatest possible capacity and save a neck or back from lifetime of pain.