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Disability Determinations in the ED

There was a minor car accident a few days prior to a repeat emergency visit for a family of four. The paramedics who brought the family in for their first visit had already diagnosed acute “Allstate-itis” in both parents before they arrived. Low speed accident, no vehicle damage, what appeared to be exaggerated physical complaints. The exams were all entirely normal, but the symptoms were “documented” as both parents had wanted – including neck and back pain in a 3 year old daughter and her almost 2 year old sister.

The second visit was similarly filled with complaints of neck and back pain in all family members. Their exams were all still normal. They were again diagnosed with myalgia. Then the “by the way” moment … ever since the accident, the three year wets her bed every single night and the two year old cries every time she hears a siren. Would we mind filling out disability papers for both the children?


No, ma’am, neither of your children is disabled and they don’t have PTSD, either. Heck, I get upset sometimes when I hear ambulances. Likely occurs for a different reason, but I still get upset.

I’m sure that they will eventually find a doctor willing to complete the paperwork. Just don’t all you parents with non-pottytrained three year olds get any ideas.



  1. The Victim-Industrial Complex™ has a lot to answer for.

  2. Kind of an offshoot of the Munchausen Syndrome by proxy.
    You did the right thing. I wish there were more people that
    were motivated by what is right, not by what is profitable.
    Obviously the parents aren’t. Why would you want to label your toddlers and subject them to a lifetime of thinking something is wrong with them?

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