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  • WC questions Washington

    I have been on WC since March when I was lifing a pt who had fallen. Myself (I'm a CNA) and an RN were lifting the patient when the patient decided not to hold herself up. We made the decision to place her on the bed. When we went to place her on the bed, my coworker had not locked the bed in place. The bed went forward as we did also holding almost 300 extra pounds. WC has accepted the claim and I was on light duty for 9 weeks and then place on FMLA. I have already lost my position at the hospital I was working at and now have received a letter stating that I will no longer be employed there from 60 days from the date of release to go back to work. I have been told by my Primary dr that I have bilateral SI strain and I also sprained my lower back from this incident. The back sprain I think is pretty well healed. I just can't do much bending, lifting, walking, standing or sitting for more than about 30 minutes at a time. My IME came back and stated that I had an abnormal left SI, but made no reference to it in the diagnosis. It also stated that I could go back to my normal job. My Primary dr doesn't agree with that. She says that I should find a different job. I have been trying, but I don't have the skills needed for a sedentary job. I would love to go back to work, but without my meds, I am no good to anyone. The stress is getting to me and I don't know what is going to happen to me. I don't want to lose everything because I got hurt at work. I just want my life back. I wanted to know if anyone knows what will happen if my Primary doesn't agree with the IME and then what happens? What will happen if I can't go back to the job that I had when I got injured? If they terminate my employment do I get to go on unemployment until I get a job? I don't want to hire an attorney at this point, but maybe it's time? I just feel like I am getting screwed and I didn't do anything to be treated this way. Thanks in advance for all information you can give.

  • #2
    As you have been out since March, you are well past the point where your employer must hold your job. Have you been terminated or are you still employed there? Why does your primary physician think you should find another job? If it is just that you are likely to be reinjured, then there is not much recourse for you under WC. WC doesn't deal in what may happen, they deal with what is currently the case.

    If your PCP genuinely believes that you are medically incapable of returning to work and that it is because of this accident in March, then you have an issue. I have not seen your medicals but from what you shared I would be highly surprised if a back strain was what was keeping you from working 6 months later. Sprains just don't take that long to heal. I don't know what the abnormality with S1 is that was referenced or if it has anything to do with the injury but that is something you should be asking the doctor.

    Voc rehab can be an option for those who are injured and unable to return medically to their former positions. However, in your case, I don't see that as being likely especially if one doctor has released you without restrictions.

    At this point, I would be asking my doctor why they are recommending you stay out and what the dangers are of returning. If your doctor says you can not return and the IME doctor says you can, you are more than likely goign to need to file issues with the commission to get your time off covered. In that case, I'd suggest a lawyer. If you r PCP doesn't have a reason for you to be out medically, then you will need to return to work. It is always better to try and return, even if you need to go back out.

    I would also start looking for other jobs, perhaps in the same field. If that is what your doctor recommends, then it is pobably not a bad idea. Many doctor's offices prefer to hire those who have a medical background and there is a shortage of medical office assistants in many places. Even if you do at some point qualify for voc rehab, the first question they ask before you begin is going to be "what have you done to find a job on your own?". If the answer is "nothing", it might not be approved right away.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      The reason that my primary care dr doesn't think I should go back to working the same job is that my injury to my Sacroiliac joint isn't healed completely. I guess that lifting and bending is going to cause me greater pain and instability of the joint. I may be as good as I am going to be. The IME did state that my left sacroiliac joint was abnormal, but he didn't diagnose anything about it. I have been looking daily in newspaper, websites and also word of mouth for a job. I have taken typing tests, clerical exams and passed them all. I just can't get an interview. I asked one of them and she just told me that I didn't have enough experience. I just feel like there are some people out there who have used the system and now the system thinks we are all that way. It's frustrating. I just want to get back to work....I hate being home all the time. I was a stay at home mom for 10 years. I want to work.

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      • #4
        I would try going through an employment agency. They can help with placements and getting your foot in the door.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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