Acute "Allstate-itis"

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It used to be that when you were in a car accident and you walked away from it, you were thankful that no one was hurt. Now it seems like if you walk behind a car and slap its back bumper with your hand, everyone inside grabs their neck.
There are a lot of serious injuries in car accidents. But I have patients all the time who come in several days after an accident and tell me that their neck and their back are a “little sore” and that their “lawyer told me to come to the ER to get checked out.” I make sure to write that they were referred to the ED by their attorney. Haven’t gotten called to testify in one of those cases yet.
So in comes a mother with her two kids who was in a fender bender according to EMTs. She swears her 22 month old is complaining of neck pain. The kid could barely say “Mama.” Maybe he’s like that frog on Looney Tunes that only sings when no one else is around.
Yet another discharge with diagnosis of “normal physical examination status post motor vehicle accident.”
“Acute Allstate-itis” apparently isn’t a codeable diagnosis.

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  1. I’m glad you have an idea of what children should be able to say! I recently brought my 13 month old daughter to the ER for a fever of 104.4. The nurse asked me if she had been complaining about any itching (to rule out an UTI). Me: No… she can’t talk THAT well yet. Nurse (haughtily): Well, sometimes they say I ITCH!

    It takes all kinds…

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