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Doctors' Handwriting Kills 7,000 People Each Year & The Impacts TBI

Posted by Florida Spine and Injury | Jan 10, 2024 3:36:17 PM


Did you know that an estimated 7,000 people are killed each year and 1.5 million injured due to illegible handwriting in medical charts and prescriptions?

Thankfully, the utilization of electronic health records and e-prescribing is decreasing this number, but did you ever stop and wonder why doctors have such poor handwriting?

The most common theories are the obvious ones- they are in a hurry, and have to jot down a lot of notes all day so their hands get tired. But did you know that handwriting is a fine motor skill largely under the control of the cerebellum?

Fortunately very few doctors have brain injuries, but we know that cerebellar coordination is a major area of dysfunction in patients we see at Ethos with TBI. We can't do a handwriting analysis to look for the presence of brain injury, but there are some tests that are almost as easy to administer.

The assessment begins with the physical exam where cerebellar coordination evaluated with tests that involve the patient touching their finger to nose or finger to the doctor's finger (we tried patient finger to doctor's nose but that was a little awkward). Cerebellar function is also measured with balance testing, and most vividly by evaluating eye movements with technology like videonystagmography (VNG).

As you can see in the images below the difference between normal vs. abnormal eye movements is often rooted in dysfunction of the brain.


The good news is that there are specific therapies that we incorporate into our TBI rehab program at Ethos that can help restore cerebellar function to normal and alleviate TBI symptoms. Technology like VNG and oculomotor tracking not only assesses brain injury but it helps to guide our treatment of injured patients to achieve the best possible clinical outcomes.

If you or someone you know would benefit from TBI diagnostics or therapy at any of our locations across Florida, please reach out via email at drwalker@flspineandinjury.com or you can call directly at 904-616-1284.


Topics: Legal, TBI

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