Dear Workers Comp, You Are Not God!

As I write this blog post I am in pain, pain that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. A great deal of my pain is your fault. I am sure that there are hundreds of people who fake work related injures on a daily basis. I know that there are those who think a work related injury means a lot of money and time off work. Unfortunately, we both know that going through a work related injury is hell. You make it that way to stop those with fake injuries and to save as much money as possible, but have you ever thought about the people who you hurt? The people who have real injuries. The people who really want to get better and get back to work. Those are the people you hurt the most.

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The truth is I wish I wasn’t hurt at work. I wish I was hurt at home where my regular doctor could have seen me. At least then I wouldn’t have to wait months for approvals and go without important medication for weeks at a time. I would have been seen by decent doctors in the first place and my injury would have never gotten as bad as it is now. I wouldn’t live every waking moment in pain, I wouldn’t be depressed, and I wouldn’t have lost everything. You cause physical, emotional, and financial pain and hurt good people in the process.

Payments from workers comp only last about two years. After those payment stop the next step is temporary state disability. Again, those payments are limited. Filing for permanent disability isn’t even an option until the the doctors state you are permanent and stationary and that you won’t get any better. So after about three years, if you are unable to work, there is no income. If I didn’t live with my parents I would have been on the streets. I know there are many people who don’t have family to fall back on. What happens to them? They are in a place where they have no way to make a living and they can’t pay their bills. Does this seem fair to you?

I was hurt almost seven years ago. The incident was caught on camera, and another employee was fired for causing the accident. Since that day my life has changed. I have seen dozens of doctors and went to hundreds of appointments. As of right now I have had six surgeries on my foot and I still can’t walk correctly. Why am I still in pain? Because you like to drag things out! I had to wait six months for my first surgery to be approved. As I waited, I got worse. When I woke up from surgery, the bone in my foot was worn down because I had been walking on it incorrectly. The doctor said there was no way a person could fake that. That was at the end of 2011, and I thought that I would be great after that surgery. I wasn’t.

Fast forward to two years ago. By that time I had developed RSD, or complex regional pain syndrome, in my leg. This made life difficult. Not only was I in pain, but most doctors refused to even touch me because my leg and foot were too far gone.

I finally found an amazing doctor who thought she could fix my leg and foot. But before she did surgery she wanted me to see a pain management doctor. After waiting over a year I still didn’t have approval to see a pain management doctor. You would approve an appointment and then decide that the doctor I was going to see was no longer on your MPN list. Eventually the doctor decided to do the surgery before I saw the pain management doctor. It was a bad decision on your part, because I ended up staying in the hospital for six days while doctors tried to get my pain under control. Imagine how much money you could have saved if you would have just let me see a pain management doctor.

Back in August I was finally able to see a pain management doctor. He upped my medication and changed some of it so that I could start walking on my leg again. You see I haven’t been able to walk at all since October 2015. But I need to walk. If I don’t walk, the bone can’t heal properly. And if it doesn’t heal, my lower leg will have to be amputated. Amputated, all of this from an injury that if treated correctly, would have never gotten this far!

The idea was great. I was finally able to see a pain management doctor, he could get me the medication I needed, and I could start walking. But again, you like to take your time. You like to wait to the last minute to approve my medication and you like to play games.

The doctor was smart though. Instead of waiting for the pharmacy to get an approval from you on my medication, he put the request straight through to the Workers Compensation Utilization Review Board. The board agreed that I needed the medication and approved it. But you still wouldn’t give it to me. The Walmart pharmacy says you won’t approve the medication and you say they don’t call. Regardless of who is at fault, I am the one who gets hurt. It has happened quite a few times, but this time it has gone too far.

Back on November 9, 2016 the Workers Compensation Utilization Review Board finally approved my medication. The medication I am on is expensive, but it is the only thing that seems to work. I made phone calls daily trying to get my medication, but had no luck.

It is pretty bad when a lawyer says that there is nothing more he can do. He has called and talked to you and you say that the pharmacy has been called and has been told to fill the medication, yet the pharmacy states they haven’t received a call. You play games while I am sick. I am going through opiate withdrawals because I don’t have my medication. I can’t sleep, am throwing up from the intense pain, and am wishing I was dead. I have the chills, diarrhea, and can’t concentrate on anything.

While others are getting ready for Thanksgiving, I am sitting here unable to function. Why? Because you play games. You make life and death decisions and try to play God. The medications I take say not to stop them suddenly, yet you make me stop them suddenly by not approving them in a timely manner. I know you can do better than this!

Why is it okay for you to play with people’s lives? I am not asking for much. I want the medication I need, the medication that was prescribed by a doctor that you approved. I want to be able to get the medication I need in a decent amount of time so that I don’t go days to weeks at a time without it. I want a chance to keep my leg. A chance I won’t have if I can’t get the medication I need so that I can walk. Wouldn’t it be more cost effective for you to pay for the medication now instead of an amputation down the road? Even if it isn’t, should I have to go through all of this pain and torture just to save a few dollars?

As it is my life has changed. I will never be able to get a regular job, and if I am able to walk, it won’t be easy. I have already lost the last six and a half years to pain and suffering. Are you going to make me wait in pain longer?

Put yourself in my shoes. Think what would happen if suddenly you had no income and were in pain all of the time. Imagine going without your medication just because a worker won’t pick up a phone and say that a medication is approved. There are plenty of people who are hurt at work and just want to get better, but you make the process difficult.

I pray that you never get hurt at work, but if you do I hope that you have better results than me. No one deserves to go through this.

Signed,

Katie Sheasby, an injured worker who is fed up with the system.

Comments

  1. Oh Katie – what a shit show! This is just another example of broken systems and sadly people being left behind due to bad bureaucracy and red tape piles……I’m so sorry that this is what’s been going on for you and hope that healing comes soon!

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