Doubts About Willis' Disorder Surface
When Dontrelle Willis was sent to the 15-day Disabled List with Anxiety Disorder yesterday, there were plenty who expressed some shock at the move. Now, Detroit area doctors are openly questioning the Tigers' medical staff, which claimed that Willis' condition was discovered via blood test.
According to this story from the Detroit News, at least two Detroit doctors question whether social anxiety disorder could be discovered with a blood test under any conditions.
"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, Mich. "Most psychiatric conditions cannot be diagnosed by blood tests, and anxiety disorder cannot be diagnosed in such a way."
"There's no anxiety disorder, no psychiatric disorders, which are diagnosed by blood tests," said Taft Parsons, medical director of the Kingswood Hospital, 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."
Those conclusions would be pretty damning to the Detroit medical staff, and to the Tigers organization itself. In a more direct way, it might lead Major League Baseball to re-consider it's allowance of a medical DL stint for Willis, forcing the Tigers to make a decision on his future now, rather than later.
Of course, there's no reason to believe that will definitely happen. As Pasons mentions above, thyroid tests that return abnormal levels are often seen as a symptom of social anxiety disorder. CBC (complete blood count) tests can also set off alarms, but can't independently confirm social anxiety or other psychological disorders.
In fact, the only test that professes to identify social anxiety disorder is this experimental procedure from Hebrew University, which, to date, has only been used on some 450 American test cases.
So, are the Tigers trying to pull one over on Major League Baseball? Or did General Manager Dave Dombrowski just over simplify the Willis diagnosis? Either way, the team may have more questions to answer about Willis condition, sooner rather than later.
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