03.30.09

High Anxiety : Detroit Docs Dispute D-Train Diagnosis

Posted in Baseball, Medical Science at 12:24 pm by

The Tigers placed SP Dontrelle Willis on the 15 day disabled list yesterday with what the club is calling an anxiety disorder, Said move raised the suspicions of the The Detroit News’ Lynn Henning, who took the time to quiz the area’s mental health professionals.
“I can’t speak of the specific situation, but to the best of my knowledge, you cannot diagnose an anxiety disorder by a blood test,” said Hiten Patel, a psychiatrist at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. “Most psychiatric conditions cannot be diagnosed by blood tests, and anxiety disorder cannot be diagnosed in such a way.”

Agreeing was Taft Parsons, medical director of the Kingswood Hospital, the in-patient psychiatric facility at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

“There’s no anxiety disorder, no psychiatric disorders, which are diagnosed by blood tests,” said Parsons, who explained that anxiety might be a symptom of a medical situation identified by blood work, such as a thyroid condition. “But (anxiety) would not be the disorder itself. Only a symptom.”

Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers president and general manager, was careful about providing details of Willis’ health, citing confidentiality laws. But he said: “It’s something that our doctors have discovered, and we’ve been working on it for a while to try to make sure exactly what this is. The doctors discovered that.”

GM Dave Dombrowski declined comment Sunday after being informed of the psychiatrists’ response.

The Tigers owe Willis $22 million through the 2010 season. But if he were to spend the bulk of this season or 2010 on the DL, insurance policies that are routine for highly paid players would likely be responsible for as much as 50 percent of his compensation.

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