Severe Asthma can it be a disability for a nurse?

  1. It seems to be for me. I have SEVERE allergies,anaphylasis and asthma, have had my Doc and allergist both write wriiten statements to my employer that I am not to be exposed to any cleaning agents/toxic fumes, I work as triage in a substance abuse center. Well my employer obviously doesn't give a you know what. Last Tues they cleaned all the carpets the morning of my work with some cleaning chemical, strong smell and then my supervisor opened a few doors to outside to air it out (it was 20 degrees!) and told me to stay away from it- Umm hello ? It's everywhere! Just because it may not bother someone who doesn't have asthma doesn't make it ok. I work only 3 days a week there are 4 other days they can do this. Fast forward now I am back on prednisone, abt and 3 different inhalers and breathing treatments. It's sunday I came into work today and they are stripping the floors in thew lab in my work area with ammonia and doing4 coats of wax, here I go again. I call my supervisor again he acts like "I" am making a big deal out of it and told me to prop the door open and stay in my office with my aircleaner (that I provided), I told him fine but I didn't know how long I would make it and would probably end up in the er over this. He then told me to try and get another nurse to come in. In the mean time, here I sit sucking fumes. If you got this far, my question, isn't this considered a disability do I complain to the EOE, osha oe what agency. I am so upset, this means I'll be sick my days off again and they will continue to expose me to this stuff whenever they feel like it.
    -Ms.P
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   GA,RNC
    I have no solution but mass amts of sympathy/empathy. I'm latex allergic in a "latex-free" hospital and for some reason am continually exposed to latex foleys and sterile gloves (not to mention the sneaky latex balloons that manage to make it up 4 floors to our unit). Maybe if you go to employee health each time you're exposed all of the cumulative documentation might help?
  4. by   caliotter3
    I had a manager who was on disability for asthma. Didn't have to work a full day. She came and went as she pleased which was ok because she was salaried. If she could get on disability for asthma and spend her time coming and going and tending to her family while also drawing a paycheck, I would think that you could get on disability. See your doctor and find out what you need to do to get the ball rolling. And I would see a disability lawyer concerning the treatment you are getting at work. Whereas I never saw any evidence of sickness in my manager, just reading your description does not sound like somebody making something out of nothing. Your boss is making a lawsuit. You could very easily be accommodated. He is acting like a jerk.
  5. by   HM2VikingRN
    Check out the ADA policies. I think there is an argument for an accomodation plan.
  6. by   nursekelly217
    Ms Piggy you have my sympathy and understanding, though no solutions, unfortunately. I have mild-moderate asthma that is normally well controlled, however last year had a severe asthma attack at work (also at an acute detox center), triggered by the floor stripping agents... reported to program director and was promised the stripping would only occur on my days off or an off shift and no less than three more times in the next month ended up outside trying to breath because someone "forgot" to tell the cleaning crew they couldn't use those chemicals while I was there. I had to leave work early twice and had the time taken out of my earned time. I suppose I could have fought it for workers comp but I was so unsupported and made to feel like a burden/problem child, it just wasn't worth it. I ultimately left the job for other reasons but I totally empathize with you and wish you the best of luck and health.
  7. by   MsPiggy
    Thanks everyone, Yes same thing here I made to feel like I'm the red-headed stepchild, like it'smy fault I have severe allergies etc..I'm looking for work elsewhere, it just gets to the point where for me it's not worth fighting over.
    -Ms.P

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