Handbook of Pain Syndromes: Biopsychosocial Perspectives

By Andrew R. Block; Edwin F. Kremer et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Chronic Pain on Trial: The Influence of Litigation and Compensation on Chronic Pain Syndromes

Thomas Hadjistavropoulos University of Regina

Recently, I became aware of a disability claimant who was placed under surveillance by an insurance company.1 The claim was for a chronic pain problem and the surveillance was undertaken for an approximate total of 7 different days. During one of these occasions, the claimant was videotaped driving from his residence to a psychological assessment appointment. There was no evidence of apparent pain on the video. Once he arrived to a parking lot on the way to the psychologist's office he was described (in the surveillance report) as putting on a neck collar and then proceeding to continue the drive to the office. Following the appointment, the claimant was described as taking off the neck collar near the parking lot and driving home with no apparent pain. The only other surveillance occasion during which he was seen with a neck collar was as he was leaving from a medical appointment on a different day (on that occasion, the surveillance commenced only following the medical appointment and it is not known at what point the claimant put the collar on). In no instance was he recorded while displaying any overt signs of pain. Furthermore, he was depicted on several occasions turning his head to the side with no apparent difficulty, laughing and conversing with others.

Independent of the aforementioned, the psychologist's assessment conclusion suggested this claimant as having a high degree of pain severity

____________________
1
Some of the details of this case were altered for illustration purposes and to disguise the identity of the claimant.

-59-

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