|Independent Examiner Struck Down!
Michael graduated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY in
1974, went on to get a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering and took
graduate courses at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and the
University of Lowell. In 1989, he was hired by Raytheon as a senior
engineer and helped develop and test missile systems.
Michael was diagnosed with mononucleosis in July of 1992 but the
symptoms never abated. He was absent from work a lot although he tried to
resume full time work. In July of 1994, Michael was diagnosed with
"Chronic Fatigue Immunodeficiency Syndrome" (CFIDS). He previously
had been diagnosed with bipolar which was under control by the time he got
"mono." MetLife approved his claim but continued to evaluate his claim.
His physician suggested he try working three half days a week but the
company rejected this saying "he has a diminished mental capacity..a
psychiatric problem...cognitive problems."
In 1996, MetLife terminated Michael"s disability. Most long term
disability companies have a two year limit on "mental" illnesses and they
often try to put ME/CFIDS into this category to discontinue benefits. On the
advice of his attorney, Bernard A. Kansky, Michael underwent vocational
assessment by Paul Blatchford, Ed. M. who found that he could no longer
work as a "lead engineer." A neurological evaluation found he met "the
diagnostic criteria by the Centers for Disease Control for the diagnosis of
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." Despite this, a physician hired by MetLife,
Dr. Robert Petrie, found "the medical records provided do not support the
diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome," even though he never examined
Michael in person. Companies often hire and pay consultants to review
only records. Dr. Dedra Buchwald, the co-chair of the NIH's Workshop on
CFS in June did this under contract to MetLife and found one patient not
disabled because she could carry a grocery bag! Most of the Independent
Medical Examiners (IME) never see the patient but their job is to give
unfavorable reports of the patient as that is what the companies are paying
them for. Dr. Petrie said Michael could not have CFS because he was
bipolar and "CFS cannot co-exist with other debilitating conditions" and
that he had "no demonstrated physical impairment." MetLife also had
Michael undergo their own vocational assessment but he flunked that one as
well as the one administered by vocational expert Paul Blatchford, Ed. M.!
"Evidence of cardiovagal dysfunction"
was found during an autonomic
The National CFIDS Foundation* 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 * (781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606