After reading a recent comment posted by “Doug” stating: “I too suffer from mental health issues which have been aggravated due to a workplace injury, yet work cover do NOT want to even know about them”, I am compelled yet again to repeat today that when a worker is unfortunate to be injured at work, there is not only injury but it is then – just about always – followed by assault and workcover case managers (et al.) are re-injuring those workers all over again.
I recently asked an orthopaedic surgeon why he recently decided to cease accepting workcover patients; the surgeon gave an interesting but perhaps wretched answer, saying that workcover patients are much more difficult o engage and treat than general patients because “these injured workers are so angry at the [workcover] system”.
We recently received the following question from an injured worker: “why is it so hard to get help from doctors when you are on work cover?” Many doctors are just fed up with the extremely time consuming ,“ridiculous” amount of paperwork required by WorkCover, for which they are most often not paid, and with the constant harassment, interference and pressure from case managers.
Let me ask you to picture this …You were badly injured at work and just had surgery. In this surgery, your surgeons literally touched and manipulated your bones. Metal was placed in your bones. When they were finished screwing and sawing your bones, they sowed your skin together and sent you to the ward with a Morphine pump for pain control.Then after a day or two in the hospital, you are sent home to recover…
Many IME Psychiatrists, even those who testify for workcover insurers avoid diagnosing psychological / psychiatric conditions related to injured workers’ trauma. They generally do this by deliberately avoiding any tests that were designed to assess the injured worker’s mental condition in question. Is it any wonder the IME finds no evidence of for example, PTSD or major depression when s/he doesn’t even test for it?
‘With all the obvious and sometimes deadly symptoms, there has to be some kind of disease [within workcover]’ said an injured worker recently. Everyday we hear from injured workers and at times dread reading their stories. Sometimes we receive 10 emails from badly treated injured workers a day. in the same or more serious situations. Did I say 10? Sometimes it’s 20. And the sheer number of badly treated injured workers means not only is that there something clearly wrong with the workcover system, but that it is systemic.
Let’s just imagine that we are a doctor or specialist and that we’ve accepted to treat an injured worker.Who is really making the medical/surgical decisions about our injured workers? Shouldn’t the workcover insurers at least share the liability or at least bear the responsibility of their own actions or lack thereof?
The following NT legal workcover case demonstrates (again) to what lengths workcover insurers will go to deny liability for an injury, more so in cases of psychiatric injury. A psychiatrist (IME) hired by the workcover insurer found the injured worker experienced symptoms of depression as a result of his “difficult circumstances”, as opposed to having major depressive disorder. The insurer stated that the injured worker did not have a psychological injury, or that in the case he did, it was not caused by his (primary) low back injury.
A key element in suicidal behaviour or idealisation is the feeling of helplessness, which arises from prolonged periods of [extreme] stress or emotional upset. For many [seriously] or ill injured workers this may include constant abuse from the employer or the workcover insurer [case manager], constant denials for even the most basic of medical and like care/services; …
Quite often the lack of a bonding and lasting doctor-patient or doctor-injured worker relationship is a central part…and —often— a central problem…of the workcover system. Quite often the injured worker did not choose to see their doctor or specialist, and the reverse is also true, quite often the doctor did not choose nor want to see this injured worker…