Injured worker shares “classic” workcover nightmare

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The abuses of injured workers under workcover are rampant. As we have stated on several occasions, the  most common “themes” we see and hear from injured workers are the delays, denial of needed medical treatment; the inadequate, inappropriate, forced and hasty “return to work” plans; the many inappropriate, cursory and frankly biased “independent” medical “opinions”; and the frankly inhumane treatment of injured workers by “the system”. “C”s story -again- summarises what you are faced with when you get injured at work, through no fault of your own.

Injured worker shares “classic” workcover nightmare

Thought I’d share my story of my workcover nightmare.

I worked at an auto parts store for [many] years, and was responsible for sales, managing staff and stock control. We had one customer that spent a lot money with buying under body car parts. These parts he was ordering were delivered to our store first and then loaded via our driver and myself most of the time.

The roller door at the rear of the store was driven via a chain, and was very hard to lift. Due to the door being bent and the channels also. I had to lift this door on average about 4-5 times a day. We were not allowed to keep this door open due to security reasons.I asked repeatedly for a motor driven door, which was denied of course, the manager of the store also tried several times as well.

On [year/date] I was lifting the door up and heard a click comes from both my arms. I experienced pain straight away, but keep working with the help of some pain cream. Filled out the appropriate forms and what have you. [A month later, The] pain got worse took 2 weeks off. [Two months later] I had cortisone shots in both arms, and that relieved the pain in my left arm, but not fully in my right. I basically become left handed, because if I tried to use my right arm it would flare up again.

Around [5 months later] I was at work and I felt severe pain in my left elbow. I was typing on the computer at the time, it felt like someone had belted me on the elbow with a 4×2 piece of wood. So I went home and saw my GP and was put on medication ie. pain killers. anti inflammatories. The pain just would not go away, even with physio, tablets, massage and so forth. I entered a tennis elbow trial of my own bat at [name] Sports Centre, they found several tears in my left common extensor tendon in [a month later].

Unfortunately the trial was not successful. I also developed right shoulder pain also around [1 month after that]. After repeated attempts in asking my doctors for scans for my shoulder and neck also, they said that won’t show anything up because you have Chronic Pain Syndrome.

I was off work [for months] were I was basically forced to go back to work, because of an appointed occupational rehabilitation provider from my worksafe agent. This lady was like a pitbull, and constantly was trying to get me back to work even though I was in pain.

I had to get my lawyer to ring her and tell her to back off. She bullied my pain specialist into sending me back to work, I lasted two days. My doctor later told me that he had sent me back to work to get this lady off my back..not that it worked. It’s fair to say I no longer see this doctor any more.

This workcover thing was doing my head in, between the way that work treated me when it happened and there after.

No wonder I was stressed out and put on anti-depressants.

Also the case managers who were rude, hardly ever return my calls or emails and rejecting treatment that I wanted to get in order to get back to work and to get better of course. Went to claim for my shoulders and of course they rejected it. And this was because of an IME doctor that said it was all in my head and he wasn’t even a psychologist..funny that.

So off to conciliation I went, nothing was settled at conciliation because I was waiting on medical reports, which the agent rejected from my doctors anyway.

Next step “Medical Panel” more stress. Got the certificate of opinion back, not good news one step forward 10 steps back again.

My heart nearly dropped out of my chest. What I found astounding that they couldn’t even get my occupation right, even though it was stated in other documents they were sent. Makes me wonder even if they read my doctors reports. And of course they left out some major details.

I swear to God I thought they may have me mixed up with another patient.

Scans on my left elbow tears weren’t mentioned in the report and tears in my shoulders also were left out. And to rub salt in the wound they agreed with the IME doctor that it was bilateral shoulder bursitis and that was normal in patients with no shoulder injury. Then how do they explain the tears in my shoulders. My doctors said it was from overuse of my arm when I had the tears in my left arm, which I pretty sure developed at work in the 5 months between Dec 20XX and May 20XX. So the medical panel performed there tests on me and said there was nothing wrong with my arms any more and I just have bursitis in my shoulders.

They must have xray vision or something, because those tears in my shoulder tendons and bursal must have vanished…now that’s what I call a miracle.

To this day I still cannot use my arms without getting severe pain. These doctors now say I have cervical spine dysfunction and that’s the cause of my pain now. They come to that conclusion just by me moving my neck, no scans required again.

So now I need to talk to my lawyer and hope it’s not bad news.

This experience has taken it’s toll on my wife who has had a break down, and my son who cannot play with his dad.

I haven’t had a decent nights sleep in two years, a year and a half to wait for treatment and then to be handed down this decision by the panel.

Where does this end… no wonder people commit suicide. I just want my life back to the way it was, and now I feel like that is not going to happen any time soon.

 

Thank you, “C” for sharing your nightmare, and, most importantly to help us prove that there is a systemic pattern of misconduct and abuse by the workcover system, which is unacceptable.

 

[post dictated by workcovervictim and manually inserted on behalf of workcovervictim]

 



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11 Responses to “Injured worker shares “classic” workcover nightmare”

  1. Hi , I just read your piece and would lile to just say I feel very much for you ,your wife and family, as i myself am involved with the work cover system due to no fault of my own or my husbands who has always been an honest hard working man and farther of four who had worked and payed taxes since he was old enough to leave school thru till he was hurt at work doing as requested by his empolyer,and our rolercoster ride with the whole package of crazyness like workcover case workers repeated trips to medical panels at least 5x in total if I recall,court case and solicitors cost after costs and we are still fighting but I’m hopping for a light at the end of this tunnel and hopefully that is that someone in an influential place will see how this system is ruining real lives and families like ours and millions of others,,just to prove their point,,, that being they can cut off any one of our life lines,, money!!(payment for medicationss , foods housing and god forbid bills) also at any moment just for a late med cert,or human error on their behalf could not believe how similar our thoughts and feeling are in regards to the horrid treatment that we all seem to receive,mental abuse, im realizing,off our so call work cover system that is doing us hard working Aussie familys wrong on a daily basis , it really needs to stop!! hopefully it will be sooner rather than later,for you to get your case over, and try to get back to some sort of normality if there is such a thing after years of , workcover abuse!!anyway I hope all goes well for you and your family, and they(workcover) don’t manage to stretch it all out too much longer, who knows their may really be such thing as miracles you just never know!,, tc I’m told it really does end up Getting easier,,and im going with that theory anyway as that keeps my head still working and trying to staying positive I guess, cheers

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    • Thanks for your comment Robyn, your not wrong about this system having to change. The sooner this happens the better off injured people will be. I’m just really tired of the run around you get from doctors, case workers etc. The lack of treatment is the cause of injured workers staying of work and in turn causing more complications. If I had the money I would going get the right treatment myself and then send the bill to my insurer.

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  2. Would love to know the time frame on ‘ends up getting easier’! Often for many of us, the hope that it gets easier, is the only thing that gets us thru each day. There are many who have been suffering for many years & it still is not easier. The only 1’s Ive ever heard of who have said it gets easier are those that have found ways to get off or out of the WC system.

    Dont mean to burst your bubble Robyn, just hope for each & every injured worker & their families that it does in fact get better or easier for them. I will admit, with the help of a legal team (not just a lawyer) some days are a little easier than a few years back & if things keep improving as they have over the last 6 months then I should have some kind of ‘life’ in about 15 years!

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    • I know what you are going through and to be honest it does not get easier.  I am going through the same thing.  My case got accepted, the  workcover deicided that i should have a new case manager and the  claim started off again. I am now fighting with Qcomp and had to hire a solicitor which is pretty expensive. Qcomp have now dug up all my old claims to try and catch me out on my injury. They can keep on digging  till the cows come home but they will not find anying on me because there is nothing to find. I am a very strong person but i will admit that they have nearly sent me to the wall but i will never give up the fight, so i suggest that as hard as it may be do not let them wear you down and keep on fighting. you will probably win in the end.  Stay strong and   good luck.          cathy

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      • Thanks Cathy for the comment, I will continue fighting the good fight. There is no way on earth am I going to give up on this “ever”. I’ve had four case managers and all of the accept my current one were very difficult to deal with. The worst part about my claim is the medical panel decision I got, they really done a number on me by leaving out critical information relating to my claim. I am going to complain to the convenor of the panel with a letter expressing my disbelief in there findings. I not sure this is going to achieve anything, but I’m going to do it anyway.

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  3. Craig I feel for you. All I can say is: Welcome to the place where the workover stops being lonely. Sorry for your trauma, but take it from an old hand, it’s easier to bear when there are people to share it with, and to give you advice and survival kits.

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  4. I am a health professional. Bursitis is an extremely painful inflammation of the shoulder bursa most often caused by overuse (although I have worked with one patient whose bursitis was caused by a severe blunt trauma). Couple that with tendon tears and I would expect you to have very limited use of your arms.

    I am stunned that any medical professional could diagnose Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome when there was pathology indicating bursitis and tendon damage. If the scans were not recent then in my opinion the IME should have recommended further scans. Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome should be a diagnosis that is reserved for cases where there is no physiological cause for the pain.

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    • Even good MRI’s cannot disclose the severity of bursitis nor they can precisely tell any sprain or strain of muscles, ligaments or tendons. Any discreet tear would appear on MRI but that is quite obvious. Only a patient can feel the degree of pain he/she is going through. Unfortunately, the IME would say, I don’t see any pathology, no matter how much you are suffering with pain.

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      • Hi undisclosed, I am glad that as a Health Professional and reading this site and all that happens to everyone, who are trying to find their way through the maze of IME’s I do not know of one IME who has ever suggested further/additional treatment.  Their job is to wipe injured workers off the system, and would certainly say  I do not see any pathology. For an IME to further/add treatment is not what they are paid and half the time your own Doctors reports are not even produced for the IME, if you bring you own reports from your Treating Professionals and offer them, they normally say no I have enough documentation.  For people suffering Psychological injury’s they just change information and the injured workers are in such a state that they cannot protect themselves.  It looks like you are a caring Health Professional.

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  5. When I have an IME appointment I forward all relevant medical reports and information to the IME along with a short letter explaining why I have sent the reports. I forward the reports about four weeks prior to my appointment  express post with tracking and signature required by the receiver. In the short letter that I attach to the reports, I inform the IME that I have forwarded the reports because in the past I have attended appointments and all relevant reports have not be supplied to the IME by the insurer. I ask the IME if he/she could please read the reports prior to my appointment. So far I have not had any issue. I find it better than turning up to your appointment with a handful of reports and asking the IME to read them. Most IME’S even send me an email or text advising me that they have received the reports.

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  6. Wheelin, I’ve been told by one IME that he could not accept anything not supplied from the insurer!

    Rather than send everything yourself, just ask the CM for a list of documents disclosed, so you can fill in just the missing ones.  I’ve found they usually disclose most of your reports even ones dating back years  which are no longer relevant to “current capacity”.  Oh and if you have an employer who denies your claim, rest assured that the employer claim form will always be included, even though the claim was accepted.  Anything negative will definitely be included.

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    Bad faith insurers July 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm