A couple of years ago, my wife and I needed neuropsychological testing for one of our children. We asked around among our friends for recommendations, and Dr. Erick A. Medina of Wellesley, Massachusetts was recommended to us.
We spoke with Dr. Medina and liked what we heard, so we went ahead with the testing. In addition to the testing, Dr. Medina also did several therapy sessions with our child, though that didn’t end well: they emerged sobbing from the last session, refused to tell us why except to assure us that it was not because of any sort of inappropriate physical contact, and refused to see Dr. Medina again.
Dr. Medina had two meetings with my wife and me in which he reviewed the results of our child’s testing. At the start of the first meeting, we discussed whether we needed to take notes. Dr. Medina said that all the information he was presenting would be included in the testing report which he would provide to us. This seemed reasonable to us because we had had similar testing for our child several years before, and the report for that testing was detailed and comprehensive. Therefore, rather than distracting ourselves by taking notes, we focused fully on the information that Dr. Medina was sharing with us. We thought these meetings went quite well.
At this point, however, things started to go from bad (sobbing child refusing to see the doctor again) to worse (malpractice).
Our child was having a lot of trouble at school which required accommodations which we could only obtain by presenting the school with the neuropsychological testing results, so we needed the report from Dr. Medina as soon as possible. Because such a report often takes a while to produce, Dr. Medina agreed to consult with the school’s support staff over the phone. However, he participated in only one call, during which according to the support staff he was not sufficiently helpful or forthcoming. During this time we also needed a letter about accommodations our child needed for a competition they were participating in; Dr. Medina told us multiple times that he would provide the letter but never did.
In the meantime, we kept asking Dr. Medina for an ETA when the report would be finished and getting no response. Finally, after waiting several months with no indication from Dr. Medina of when the report would be complete, I sent a polite but sternly worded email to Dr. Medina, in which I explained why we were upset about the happenings of the last several months and demanded a response about when the final report would be provided to us.
At this point Dr. Medina demanded to speak with me on the phone. On this short call, he was rude, patronizing, and dismissive, made unprofessional comments about our child, and hung up on me.
Shortly after, he sent us what he claimed was the “report” of his testing of our child. It was not. On this matter I’ll let the email I sent back to Dr. Medina speak for itself:
My wife and I are rather confused by the length and scope of the report which you sent me on Friday. Based on our prior interactions, we expected something much more substantive.
When [child] was evaluated in 2016, the report provided to us by the evaluator was over twelve pages long, of which less than two pages were test results; the rest was narrative. In contrast, the report you sent includes only a third of a page of narrative and is missing nearly all of the information you shared with us during the two hour-long feedback sessions.
At the start of the first of those feedback sessions, you asked us if we wanted to take notes. We said that we would rather not since we wanted to be fully present for our discussion and since we assumed that the information you were presenting to us would be included in your final report; in response you said that it would.
At a different time during the feedback sessions, I specifically asked about whether specific information you had just presented to us would be covered in the narrative section of the report because, I said, it was important for [child’]s teachers to be aware of it, and you said that it would.
At several other times during the feedback sessions you mentioned that topics we discussed would be covered in more detail in your report. None of those are included in the report you sent.
Further supporting our expectation that your report would be much more substantive is the fact that you have mentioned to us several times that in your report you would be recommending the Orton-Gillingham method for [child], but the report you sent does not mention that recommendation at all, let alone explain the reasons for it.
From our past experience and the research we did leading up to our engaging you, our understanding is that a neuropsych evaluation report consists of a narrative documenting the patient’s history and background; reasons for the testing referral; descriptions of the tests that were administered and the patient’s response to their administration and performance on them; interpretation of the test results; diagnoses; and recommendations. Such a detailed narrative is an essential part of the report, indeed the essential part, since the test results cannot be accurately or entirely interpreted without it. Of these, your report contains only a few sentences of diagnosis and recommendation, unsupported by any explanation or interpretation.
Just to double-check, I shared the report you sent with [child]’s school psychologist and asked for her opinion. She responded, “This is definitely not a report. You should be upset.”
The insights about [child] which you shared with us during the feedback sessions were extremely enlightening and we feel that they will be essential in helping us to move forward with [child] both educationally and therapeutically. However, two months later it would be impossible for us to reconstruct those insights from memory in any meaningful way. We need a comprehensive written report.
Dr. Medina insisted that he had provided us with a report and was not going to provide us with anything else. We asked for him to share our child’s raw testing records with another neuropsychologist for them to review, which wouldn’t have been nearly as good as a proper report written by the tester himself, but would have been much better than what he provided. In violation of both state and federal law, Dr. Medina refused to share the records.
We informed Dr. Medina that we were not going to pay his bill until he provided us with a full report consistent with the standard of care for neuropsychological testing. In response Dr. Medina threatened to turn over our bill to a collection agency, a threat which, fortunately, he never followed through on (if he had, we would have sued him).
(An aside: when I told our friend who recommended Dr. Medina to us about all this, he responded, “Oh, yeah, he kind of did the same thing to me. He never sent me the final version of my report or my final bill.” I was kind of flabbergasted. “Don’t you think that would have been a good thing to mention when recommending him to us.” He didn’t have a good answer. *sigh*)
There is something very important you need to understand about neuropsychological testing. There are a small number of tests used by all the people who do this kind of testing, and many of them aren’t allowed to be administered to a patient less than a year apart. Therefore, we couldn’t just take our child to another neuropsychologist to have the tests repeated. Because of Dr. Medina’s malpractice, our child’s treatment and educational accommodations were delayed by a full year.
Desperate to gain access to our child’s records so we could have them interpreted by another neuropsychologist, we looked into how to file a complaint with the state agency that licenses psychologists. We hoped to enlist their help in compelling Dr. Medina to give us access to the records. At this point we learned two very unfortunate facts:
- Dr. Medina was not, in fact, licensed as a psychologist in Massachusetts. It’s illegal in Massachusetts for unlicensed individuals to provide neuropsychological testing services or psychotherapy.
- The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Psychologists could pursue action against Dr. Medina for practicing without a license. However, because he was unlicensed, they had no authority to pursue action against him for his malpractice; they could only pursue malpractice claims against licensed practitioners!
Although it was too late to do us any good, we wanted to do whatever we could to prevent Dr. Medina from harming anyone else the way he harmed our child. Therefore, in February 2021 we filed a complaint with the state about Dr. Medina practicing psychology without a license. Today, nearly two years later, I was notified that the complaint has been resolved:Closure-Ltr.-to-Complainant
There are two morals to this story.
First, do not seek care from Dr. Erick A. Medina of Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Second, make sure your psychologist is licensed before using them, or you may find yourself with no recourse if they provide substandard care. Ask them for their state license number, and Google “state check psychologist license” to find out how to check a license in your state. Don’t assume that they’re licensed; they could be brazenly violating licensure laws for years without getting caught, or they could have gotten caught, paid a fine, and gone right on doing it. They could have been licensed when your insurance company added them to their network and then lost their license afterward. Check!