I have been kicking around for a little while; long enough to know that some of my coworkers work in terrible physical pain.
I had been a nurse for about three years when I tore my trapezius moving a patient. The correct safe patient handling equipment was all covered in stool, and there were no more in the house. I always used available safety equipment if possible, but the poor woman had C Diff, the family refused to let me insert a fecal management system for some weird reason, and she had defecated on the entire supply of maxislides over the weekend. Though I asked for more of them, none were available until Monday. On Sunday night, I finally tore my trapezius. She weighed over 400 lbs, and could not even help you a little. She was pretty sick.
I went to employee health at the end of the shift, and was essentially rudely grilled about why I did not use the patient handling equipment.
Surprised, and in pain, I told her that the hospital was out of them. She actually rolled her eyes. And it was on. And a weeks-long fight with HR began.
Ultimately, my shoulder healed fine. However, it was one of the reasons I left this employer. I constantly had three heavy patients in the ICU, and when they were unable to keep proper equipment in stock, I was blamed for my injury. Not cool.
I have friends who work in pain every single day. Almost every one of them was injured at work. And I would say that 80% fail to report their injury. They know what will happen. A good friend of mine is currently unable to work in her specialty because of a clear work-related injury. The doctor they sent her to obviously mixed up her notes with another patient’s, wrote stuff in her chart that never happened, and her Worker’s comp claim was denied. And she is unable to stand for more than 5 minutes at a time.
It is time that healthcare corporations are held accountable for the dangerous work we do. I am sick of hearing about WC claims being denied where clear injury is present. They have a responsibility to provide a safe environment. Are you going to hold them to it?
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