I took a travel position in the state of Mass. last year and prior to my job ending, I injured my back while helping to move a patient. I filled out an incident report and went to the ER with complaints of pain in my lower back radiating down my left leg. I was given a muscle relaxer and pain meds, which I took on my two days off. Workmans comp called me a week later to discuss my injury and I explained how I was injured and what pain I was having. I also explained that I was on an island and unable to find a doctor. The WC adjuster told me not to worry and when my assignment was finished and I returned to my home state, that WC would handle all my expenses. Not knowing anything about WC, I said ok.
Well, the pain was getting worse radiating from my back into my left leg to the point that I could not walk without sharp pain. I left that assignment and came home. The nightmare began. WC told me to find a doctor and they would take care of it. I called every orthopaedic specialist in my area and not one would take the out of state case. WC would not help me find a doctor, and finally I ended up in the emergency room not able to walk. The pain was excruciating in my back and left knee.
To make a long story short, it has been almost 6 months trying to work with WC and nothing has happened. Unable to work, I lost my car, I have no money for food or other expenses, and am on pain meds every day. I had an MRI of the back and knee and have damage in my back with torn meniscus in my left knee. I was allotted food stamps but nothing else.
As I was inbetween jobs, a matter of weeks, my insurance was lapsed and I could not afford COBRA.
The gist of this is to put out to other travel nurses that if there is an injury, the state that you are injured in is the state that WC works with. Also, if WC is not willing to help you, or if they send you to a physician who works for them, go to the ER. The ER doctor will refer you to have specific tests done, and WC will most likely pay for them. If not, you have a record of the ordered test that you can take to another doctor.
Thank you for reading this, I was just venting. It is more involved than what I wrote, and I am getting really emotional.
Dec 3, '05
welcome to the site. enjoy your stay and best wishes to you.
Dec 3, '05
you have been through a terrible experience. we all benefit from venting our struggles here and there, from time to time. i'm sure that there are members who could relate. hope things are improving some for you. wishing you the best.
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smilingblueyes & thunderwolf
Dec 3, '05
I too was injured moving a patient. My injury was a bulging disk at L3-L4. After 6 years of pain,ineffective pain meds, and much frustration, I went to a chiropractor. After 3 visits, the pain was almost gone. I couldn't believe it!! I have been back at work for over a year now without pain.
Dec 3, '05
Check with WC both in your state and the one you live in. I hanled several clients who were injuried in another state. The carrier was require to either find a physician or assign a case manager who would then find a physician. You may also wish to speak to an attorney. He can advise you of your options. Also contact that states Division of WC and request the booklet regarding your rights and options.
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