ROBISON LAW, LLC                                                   
Wisconsin Workers Compensation Lawyer
Representing Injured Workers in Wisconsin

HealthCare Injuries

Non-fatal occupation injury rates among nurses, CNA's, ambulance workers and EMT's, and other healthcare workers is on the rise nationally. Statistically, healthcare workers are 3 times more likely to be injured at work than other industries, including construction workers, merchandise handlers (such as dock workers), and truck drivers. Around 60% of all healthcare workers have reported work related injuries, and of those injured, 65% have had more than one work injury. Healthcare workers suffer the most lost time from work due to work injuries than any other occupation.

The most common injuries are musculoskeletal injuries, with the primary mechanism occurring from a lifting incident-typically a patient transfer or ADLS, or from repeated exposure to lifting, bending, twisting, and other repetitive job duties. Work injuries from repetitive tasks are commonly referred to as 'overuse' injuries, and result in worn out body parts. For instance, in Wisconsin "work out back" syndrome is a recognized overuse injury .The CDC defines musculoskeletal disorders as "A work related musculoskeletal disorder in an injury of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves joints, cartilage, bones, or blood vessels in the arms, leg, head, neck, or back that is caused or aggravated by work tasks such as lifting, pushing, and pulling. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, numbness and tingling."

The second most common cause of injury is from patient aggression.

The causes of the increased work injuries among health care workers are numerous, and include: an increasing elderly or obese population, understaffed facilities, increased demands on workers-including mandatory overtime and night shifts, faulty equiptment, higher worker turnover related to lower pay and less employer respect, and deficient training. Like all businesses, the motive of healthcare providers is to make a profit. With small Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement rates, in order to increase profits many employers cut staff and benefits (including firing more costly experienced workers), and would rather decrease staff and demand more overtime and place more repobsibility on fewer individuals, than pay more workers benefits.  The result of these policies is more injured healthcare workers.

More nurses are required to transfer patiets as hosptials are providing little or no support staff for them. Nurses are taking on the strenuous job duties once done by orderlies, and the result is more injured nurses. Employers have also taken the corportate approach to treating health care workers like cogs, and when the cog is worked unitl it breaks, it is disposed of and replaced, regardless of the individual's skill or experience.

When healthcare workers come to see me, the usual scenario is that the injured perons's case is being denied  by the workers compensation insurer. In many instances, the employer is complicit, and will provide little help to the injured employee. Sometimes, the employer will deny the injury ever occurred. The independent medical examiner that the workers compensation insurer will send you to will deny that your occupation is strenuous enough to cause the injury, and may likely even state your injury pre-existed your work injury. As many of you have figured, our legistlature is taking efforts to insure injured workers have less rights and compensation, to help insurers and employers increase their bottome line. In the current political climate, do not count on your local
represenetatives or employers for help if you are injured at work.

My advice to you, if you are injured at work, is to call an attorney that is experienced with handling work injuries in the State of Wisconsin, if only to discuss your rights. Do not count on your employer or the workers compensation insurance company to help you in the process.

For the last ten years, I have represented injured healthcare workers in the state of Wisconsin. Call for a free consultation. 262-723-3860