When a workcover insurance case manager from hell can cause a ‘causal link’ in the death of an injured worker all steps available by law should be taken to see that this person (and their manager and their company) is no longer–ever–allowed to take another life or cause the mental and/or psychological terror they caused to Jeff Thompson.
Deceased Injured Worker’s Sister Shares Horror Story of Canadian workcover [WSIB] Mistreatment
Jeff Thomson died on 10 February 2008. He was 49, single and lived alone. According to the Coroner who performed an autopsy, Jeff died from
- a stress-related bleeding ulcer
- moderate/high sugar level in the blood
- mild case of flu (influenza)
- mild case of pneumonia
Jeff suffered a serious workplace injury during the course of his full time employment in October 2004. After having installed a satellite system, Jeff got into his truck, twisted his right knee and fell off the step of the truck. His subsequent workcover claim was accepted and weekly payments commenced.
In or around 2005-2006, it became clear that Jeff had suffered a serious injury and his prognosis to recover was poor. He was under the care of his treating GP as well as an orthopedic surgeon. He suffered from severe chronic knee pain for which he was prescribed different pain medications.
Jeff cooperated the best he could with the “labour market re-entry plan” [LMR] (aka return to work), but found his pain to be over powering his physical and mental abilities. Eventually his workcover case manager suspended the LMR because of Jeff’s inability to deal with the constant pain. Jeff’s benefits were not affected.
In October 2007, Jeff underwent a “Functional Abilities Evaluation” and his workcover case manager said that the report suggested that Jeff could continue with his identified LMR. Once again Jeff participated to the best of his ability until his pain overwhelmed him again. The LMR was again suspended by Jeff’s case manager and Jeff’s benefits were not affected.
Toward the end of October 2007 Jeff Began attending a Pain Clinic and, combined with his perceived workcover insurance understanding, Jeff started to feel hopeful again that he would finally be able to cope with his pain and get back into the labour market. Tragically this was never to happen.
Interview with Jeff Thompson’s Sister – 13 March 2008 (after Jeff’s death)
Question – Do you believe there exists a ‘Causal Link’ between the way the WSIB [workcover insurance] treated your brother, and your brothers death?
Answer – “Yes I do. Everything that happened is too close together for there not to be a Causal Link.”
Question – Are you willing to go on record and state the answer you gave to the previous question?
Answer – “Yes I am.”
Question – Are you willing to speak to the media?
Answer – “Yes I am.”
Question – There was an autopsy performed on your brother, can you tell me what was the cause of your brother’s death?
Answer – “Yes there was. The autopsy was performed at University Hospital in London ON., By Dr. P. I received a verbal report by phone that the cause of death was a BLEEDING ULCER caused by STRESS, influenza, high sugar, and a slight case of pneumonia.”
Question – During the two months prior to Jeff’s passing what was Jeff’s demeanor?
Answer – “If Jeff got a phone call or a letter from his WSIB adjudicator[workcover case manager] he became obsessed with what was said and that’s all he would talk about. He started to go crazy trying to prove himself, prove his pain, then wonder how someone (his case manager) could treat him this way after he had done everything them (WSIB) [workcover insurer] had asked of him.
Jeff’s demeanor had changed and he began to isolate in his apartment. It got to the point we were afraid to take him his mail.
The other thing was, Jeff wouldn’t sleep for two and three days at a time. He would say “I’m going to lie down, it feels like my eye balls are falling out of my head,” those were his exact words. He would lay down and not fall asleep. Once he did fall asleep, we wouldn’t be able to wake him for a day and a half sometimes even two days.
We became really concerned that Jeff was slipping into depression. We would literally ring the phone off the hook, or almost have to bang his door or break his windows down to get him to respond.
He was not living any quality of life, he seemed to be just not there. He became very distraught when he started getting letters from the case manager that was assigned to his case on November 27, 2007.
The new case manager had begun to become adversarial and was saying Jeff could continue with his LMR because there was no objective medical supporting Jeff’s inability to drive. Jeff became obsessed with trying to prove himself to be telling the truth about his pain, his impaired psychological/mental/cognizant abilities because of the pain and his meds, and his inability to drive the 120km’s to and from the LMR program.
It was Jeff’s right knee that was blown and he had to use a cane to walk. Jeff had been to the Central Ave. School (London ON) LMR program before and he wasn’t always able to park near the entrance so he usually had quite a lengthy walk. He couldn’t remember to even come home and do home work sometimes.
Jeff was not physically or mentally capable of attending school. After school sometimes Jeff would have to lie down in the back of his van because the pain he was in, he couldn’t drive home. Jeff would say when he got home “how can I keep this up?”
He had tried going to school before and it got to the point he was submitting Dr’s note to prove that he just could not continue with his LMR. Jeff provided objective medical proof from his family Dr. and the Dr. from the pain clinic thinking that the telephone threats he was receiving from his case manager to cut him off benefits would stop. Instead the case manager sent more threats by mail, because the WSIB[workcover insurance] medical consultants rejected the objective medical reports Jeff’s Dr’s had submitted.
I drove Jeff to the pain clinic at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London ON. January 30/08 because the WSIB would not provide a taxi. I went in with Jeff and got talking to Dr. Watson and his assistant about Jeff’s new case manager and the WSIB [workcover insurance] rejecting the previous submitted Dr’s reports. I was told they had seen this before from some WSIB [workcover insurance] case managers and recommended that Jeff may want to seek out legal assistance. Also Jeff’s Dr’s what more could the WSIB [workcover insurance] case manager want?
They had provided everything to prove Jeff’s injury the associated pain and the Dr’s had no doubt of Jeff’s pain and his impaired psychological/mental/cognizant abilities. Jeff was totally exhausted after his pain therapy, and we discussed his health on the way home from the pain clinic. When we got home, we made an appointment with his family Dr. for February 04/08.
Jeff wanted to see if he could get some more of his files so he could take it to a lawyer. Apparently due to legal issues Jeff would first have to go to a lawyer then have the lawyer write to the Dr. Before any of Jeff’s file, could be released.
When Jeff returned home after the appointment with his Dr., Jeff had severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a fever. On Tues. Feb. 05/08 I stopped by to make sure Jeff had lots of fluids to drink.
By Wed Feb 06/08 the fever had broke and by Thursday his nausea and diarrhea had stopped but Jeff was still feeling bad. Jeff was leaving his door unlocked so I could get in to check on him.
I checked on him Friday Feb 08/08 Jeff was still feeling bad and once again I checked to make sure he had lots of fluids on a hand and generally just try to get him going again.
I went over to check on him about 8pm on Feb 09/08, and he basically didn’t even know I was there. I gave him some soup and crackers and his breathing seemed laboured. I gave him a puff of his ventalin from his inhaler and he couldn’t even take that. At that point I said to Jeff I think we better go to the hospital. I helped Jeff get dressed then called my husband to take us to the hospital.
I took Jeff to the hospital on my own and when we got there they admitted and took a chest x-ray. At the hospital they started an IV in one arm with double drips and gave him oxygen because they thought he might have a touch of pneumonia.
The blood results showed he had high sugar so they began treatment for that. They asked me if Jeff had ever had a sugar problem and I said no. They also asked if Jeff always had a distended abdomen and Jeff said yes. Then Jeff started to get off the end of the bed and I had to get a nurse.
He became delusional to the point he had no idea where he was or what was happening. After they got him back to bed everything seemed fine, all the meds were hooked up.
Then all of a sudden Jeff sat up and asked ‘Who’s paying for all this?” I said to Jeff it’s all right it’s all looked after then he laid down again. Shortly there after he sat up again and said “I Gotta go home.” I said no you’re fine and the nurse told Jeff you’re too sick to go home just try and relax.
At the same time there was another patient bleeding out and the staff were trying to get that under control. They put Jeff into the ICU and I was answering the nurses questions and filling in the blanks for the admission.
Once again Jeff sat straight up in bed, he was twitching, his eyes rolled back in his head, he laid back down and he was gone. That was the morning of Feb.10/08.
Question – Maybe you could tell me about some mail Jeff received after he had passed away?
Answer -On January/15 the WSIB[workcover insurance] indicated they wanted Jeff to start his LMR.
Jeff’s WSIB [workcover insurance] case maanager had once again stated there was no objective medical and that the WSIB [woekcover insuranace] medical consultant did not agree with Jeff’s Dr’s that Jeff was not ready to return to work.
This became a real concern for Jeff and we once again asked the Dr’s what more could the case manager want to prove Jeff was not able to return to the LMR.
The Dr’s once again said they can’t imagine what more this WSIB case manager could need.
On January 24/08 another letter was sent to Jeff and once again it reiterates about the no objective medical to support Jeff was not able to return to the LMR.
The WSIB case manager stated “In our conversation today, You continue to present barriers You feel prevent your participation” (WSIB Document Jan/24/08 ). The Document also goes on to say, since Jeff felt his pain and meds prevented him from participating in the LMR, in seven days, HE (case manager) WOULD BE PAYING JEFF a partial loss of earnings benefit based on 85% of difference of Jeff’s preinjury wage loss and $320.00, the entry level wage for a retail sales clerk.
On Jan 27/08 we received another letter from the WSIB which stated Jeff had reached his maximum medical recovery and there was a list of Dr’s to be re-evaluated. We thought wonderful Jeff is going to be re-evaluated by a WSIB Dr and all will finally be well for Jeff.
A letter dated Feb 07/08 arrived on Feb 12/08 indicating that Jeff’s benefit was cut from $432.01/week to $181.62/week as Raymond L had promised Jeff he would do in the Jan. 24/08 correspondence. The Feb 07/08 letter and it’s contents would have been enough to kill my brother if he had of been alive to receive it. That’s how fast it went down.
The end of November 07 with the introduction of Raymond L his new WSIB case manager to February 7/08, actually Feb 10/08 when my brother died.
You can’t tell me that there isn’t a ‘causal link’ to the unfair, cruel treatment my brother received from Raymond L and the WSIB.
We received yet another letter on Feb 22/08 from Raymond L that he was having trouble contacting my brother and if Jeff doesn’t contact Raymond at the WSIB within the following two weeks, he would take no further action on my brothers claim.
This is when my mother contacted Mrs. W, Raymond L’s manager and told her “I do not want any more contact with Raymond L and I do not want any more paper work from that man.”
Question – Did the phone calls Jeff received from Raymond L contain threats and did Jeff talk to you about them?
Answer – “Yes. Raymond L was giving Jeff unrealistic deadlines or else face the loss of benefits. For instance Raymond L would tell Jeff that he had 7 days to get to the Dr and get a report. It’s hard enough to get in to see a Dr with in two weeks these days let alone 7 days. So he gave Jeff til between Christmas and New Years to make his submission and even that’s not always a possibility either.
Jeff would always try to phone Raymond L back with the information in order or within a few days why he needed an extension. Raymond L told Jeff maybe he shouldn’t be driving then threatened Jeff with having his drivers license suspended by the Ministry of Transportation. Jeff explained to Raymond L that he did not live where public transportation was available and that he doesn’t drive when he feels impaired by his medications.
Then the fact that Raymond L would not listen to Jeff by continually replying “that’s what you say, that’s what you say”. So I said to Jeff let get some proof to show Raymond L that your not lying about your condition and abilities. Lets turn the tables so that’s when we submitted a note from the Dr thinking that would calm things but that wasn’t good enough for him.”
Question – In your opinion, was Raymond L calling your brother Jeff a Liar?
Answer – “Yes. Raymond L was not a WSIB case manager that would work with my brother. Instead he was adversarial towards my brother and came across to my brother as “no matter what is submitted it will not be good enough.
Raymond L would provide absolutely no information as to what would be good enough to appease him and be proof of my brothers chronic pain and inability to participate in the LMR.
Jeff was not being uncooperative he just wanted his condition to improve so he could jump through more hoops. Jeff felt he was under attack from Raymond L, Jeff was not being listened to, he gave Raymond what Jeff’s Dr’s had said was objective medical and so on.
Nothing was good enough. Jeff on the other hand was mitigating all the circumstances he could to improve his health and he was not just sitting at home collecting his WSIB benefits”.
Question – Did any of Jeff’s WSIB adjudicators prior to Raymond L treat Jeff in that manner?
Answer – “No”
Question – Was Jeff under any kind of stress before Raymond L was assigned to his case?
Answer – “He was more concerned about getting a cab for his evaluations and going through the WSIB process. He had his concerns but he was not to the point that it worried him. He was trying to go with the flow but that all changed when Raymond L was assigned his case file. Jeff was under the impression that WSIB was there to help him and couldn’t believe that he would be treated in such a manner as what Raymond L treated him. Jeff wasn’t sure he was even going to have benefits to buy Christmas gifts but we told him not to worry about that.
Raymond L was keeping Jeff under the threat of being cut off and Jeff was worried about paying rent and staying in his accommodations”.
Question – So Jeff had never received these types of threats prior to Raymond L being assigned his case?
Answer – “No”.
Question – So basically your saying it was just the one case manager, Raymond L, and you also believe that fits the time line when Jeff’s health (mental/physical) began to deteriorate leading to his death?
Answer – “Yes. I believe his health physically and mentally. When I called to cancel Jeff’s appointments at the pain clinic after he had passed, Dr Watson phoned to see what had happened. I told the Dr that it was not a suicide. The Dr told me that it was not uncommon for a person in my brothers physical and mental state, to take their own life.
Dr W further went on to say the trouble WSIB causes in a persons life coupled with the physical and mental distress is sometimes enough to put people over the edge.
Then I personally called Jeff’s family Dr and they were ‘floored’, just absolutely ‘floored’. Jeff’s family Dr could not believe Jeff’s passing and he asked who the coroner was. I told him it was Dr P. Dr J said all Jeff ever complained about was his pain and the negative unfair treatment he was receiving from the WSIB”.
“My brother Jeff at least passed away and can rest in peace knowing that his doctors Dr. Watson and his family physician Dr Johnson has validated Jeff’s pain, his mental/psychological conditions”.
People like this workcover case manager should never ever be allowed to be employed by the workcover insurance company, yet many such a nasty psychopaths are routinely employed. When an case manager from hell can cause a ‘causal link’ in the death of an Injured Worker all steps available and allowed by law should be taken to see that the workcover insurance, the case manager and his/her manager, and even WorkSafe (in our country) is not allowed to take another life or cause the mental/psychological terror they caused Jeff Thompson. Easier said than done… Remember that in Australia, workcover insurance companies seem untouchable.
On a personal note, I have on multiple occasions tried to have my 2 year standing case manager from hell replaced, because her behaviour and actions are not only unjust, possibly illegal at times and insulting, but because this woman is making me mentally ill, severely compounding my depression, anxiety and PTSD. I have put those exact words in writing in several complaint letters, backed up by my own treater’s opinion, to no avail! In the end, with the help of my lawyer, we only managed to put a “restraining order” on that bitch and she is only allowed to correspond with me in writing via postal mail. All letters are to be opened by either my treating GP, Psychologist or Psychiatrist and they, in turn, will relay the relevant information to me and deem any such correspondence “fit for my eyes” or not. Again, this shows how utterly powerless we are as injured individuals against such a sick, corrupt, deep pocket insurance companies…..