As medicine evolves, more emphasis is being placed on evidence-based practice. Gone are the days when you could see an order for AOL in the hospital chart. You don’t know what AOL stands for? In that hospital it meant “any old laxative.” I am not kidding!
As physicians, we are expected to be aware of current research and changes in diagnosis and treatment, and our best practices should reflect this. In the field of motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) and injuries, mostly whiplash-associated disorders, there are some excellent general references and web sites available.
We know our patients intimately, their complaints and maladies. But do we know how they act when they get behind the wheel? We’re called upon to reach that conclusion for all our patients, but mostly for those over the age of 80, who require a medical exam every 2 years in order to maintain their driver’s licence.
I’ve found the mnemonic SAFE DRIVE, from the Canadian Medical Association Driver’s Guide, 7th edition, Determining Medical Fitness to Operate Motor Vehicles, a great help:
As the years pass, the number of motor vehicle drivers over the age of 65 steadily increases. Although there is no specific age at which drivers licences are suspended, drivers are required to complete a medical examination starting at 80 years of age, and every 2 years after 80, in order to maintain a valid licence.
Based on the medical exam, the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (OSMV) may require the driver to undergo further assessments, such as an ICBC road test, to better determine the impact of their medical condition on their ability to drive.
I previously penned an article on this subject in June 2008. The article was based on the proposed changes to the Rules of Court in British Columbia. As it goes with legislation, there were many revisions and rewrites before it was passed. The final changes to the rules, which have now been legislated, will come into force on 1 July 2010. Part 11 deals entirely with experts.
When a person makes a claim with ICBC, it is standard practice that he or she sign an authorization for the release of medical information. This authorization allows the practitioner to speak with a representative of ICBC or to send a copy of all medical records (including pre-accident records if appropriate) or to prepare a narrative report.