Bad Neuropsychologists Hurt Recovery after TBI

Bad Neuropsychologists are Big Obstacle

By Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

Bad neuropsychologists undercut the correct diagnosis after traumatic brain injury and are frequently the biggest challenge a brain injury attorney may encounter. A neuropsychologist is not a medical doctor, but has a doctorate in the field of psychology. To be a qualified neuropsychologist, he or she should have done a post-doctoral residency in neuropsychology, preferably in a medical school setting, training side by side with neurological residents.

Neuropsychologists were the leaders in identifying brain injury deficits.  Much of my passion for brain injury came from the guidance of neuropsychologists. When I first chose this calling, neuropsychologists were at the center stage of brain injury diagnosis. In 1992, the most important part of the diagnostic picture of brain dysfunction was the neuropsychologist.

But some things are different since the early days of the internet. Advances in neuroimaging technology has given us improved evidence that the brain has been injured, even for a brain injury that did not involve coma. At the same time that the medical evidence of injury has been getting clearer, neuropsychology has been to a high degree taken over by doctors who are financially swayed by the insurance industry and blame deficits on malingering, or feigning symptoms, and secondary gain. Instead of being the nurturing doctor who used years of clinical judgment to recognize a pattern of symptoms, too many neuropsychologists are now the main denier.
It began with flawed research that was funded by corporate or insurance interests or authored by doctors who made obscene sums as defense experts. This absurd research labeled legitimately injured persons as malingerers (essentially liars). When the integrity of the injured person was too clear to label them a liar, they would use the backhand foolishness of the somatoform diagnosis, or a mental illness that causes physical symptoms.
In all, bad neuropsychologists have multiplied by teaching a generation of new doctors in these fallacies of statistical significance. Perhaps the worst of the new measures is the Fake Bad Scale, included in the MMPI-2. The Fake Bad Scale compares the answers of injured persons to uninjured persons. Injured people are more likely to negatively endorse questions about their general health. But rather than finding the negative answers to be evidence of finding of disability, the Fake Bad Scale attributes the increased endorsement to faking. A Court had this to say about the Fake Bad Scale:

On its face, the Fake Bad Scale doesn’t make sense. This is a test that is supposed determine if a person is accurately reporting the symptoms that they are suffering or are they exaggerating or malingering. However, the test inquires about multiple symptoms persons would likely have if they in fact had what they claimed. If the (injured person) reports that they have the symptoms, those answers are counted as points towards malingering or exaggeration.

This test in effect says, if you report the symptoms that we would expect you to have if you have this injury, then you are exaggerating your symptoms or you are a faker.

The court finds this approach cannot possibly be scientific.

One can tell whether the neuropsychologist is good or bad by the interpretation that the neuropsychologist puts on the Fake Bad Scale. The good neuropsychologists will probably mention the scale. The bad neuropsychologists will use it in a diagnosis.
If your attorney doesn’t understand this unethical problem in neuropsychology, you will have no reasonable chance at a fair recovery in your legal case.  Moreover, your medical recovery in real life will be obstructed by this nonsense label the bad neuropsychologist has put upon you.

Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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