Shattered Beliefs

By: Ron Lefkowitz

Ever wonder how a claim goes awry?  Unfortunately, I have listened to too many stories from injured workers and I just cannot get used to what I hear... 

For example:
“I receive denial after denial - even after failed surgeries!”.  “No one is listening to ME!”.  “My life will never be the same!”.  “I just want my life back!”.   So shameful, so sad.   I can fill up volumes just with the stories I have been involved with.

I can't get myself to even get close to imagining that the IW wanted to get injured or planned the event that caused their disability.  When an unfortunate accident occurs , the IW believes that he will be taken care of.  Look, it wasn't HIS fault that he got hurt!

He actually thinks that “of course, my employer will look out for me”.  In actuality, it is now when the “fun” begins.  We all hope that the IW is seen for the injury.  However, there are too many instances when the IW is sent back to work although they are still experiencing pain and discomfort.  Of course, his situation begins to get worse.  The IW goes back for care and is prescribed some addictive pain medication, which - in time - may cause even more pain.  Yup!  Treating the symptom and not the cause.  In reality, I have seen too many cases with no treatment or therapy for prolonged periods.  No wonder the claim is delayed!  And this is one reason why claims appear to take forever to close; and, frustratingly, never within the normal period of time.   For, after all, it is needful that “the norm” be based on a correct diagnosis.

What if evidence-based medicine states a specific course of treatment, but, somehow, the correct diagnosis was missed? Is it possible to get another opinion?  Wouldn’t that be best?

Let me get to the heart of what I am seeing: The Injured Worker’s life is now changed - and in many cases - ruined (a better word).  He/she is left fighting for treatment that they BELIEVED THEY WOULD RECEIVE FROM THE START!   They are forced to acknowledge that the “system” has changed their belief.  Instead of trusting that they would get the benefits they deserved, they now have to fight for any treatment.  They get letter after letter denying or delaying treatment. 

It’s no wonder why so many IWs suffer from anxiety, stress, panic attacks, depressioninsomnia and increased pain.  They feel isolated.  They stop socializing, they are even afraid to open their mail, for they fear it will be more bad news to bear.   Possibly a denial of therapy, treatment, testing, surgery, FRP - it really doesn't matter, because the system has gotten into their psyches.   We needn't wonder why they become hopeless and their feelings of helplessness abound.   Their hopes and dreams have been shattered.  Their belief in being properly cared for has been shattered.  Their spirit has been shattered.  

The system has failed them.   

So, what’s the answer?

I think we need to start with fixing their belief in our capacity to help them.  Let’s give them a reason to believe in us!  Let’s provide them a fresh start!  Let’s GIVE them the time, respect and care that they deserve and let’s give ourselves permission to move forward.  IT’S TIME TO LISTEN TO THE IW before it’s too late!!


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