Nov. 2002 I suffered from a back injury resulting from SBC'S defective garage sale chair, which should have been discarded years ago. They're so cheap that's all they use in their central offices (where your dial tone starts). I didn't know it was defective as it wasn't my office nor chair. I have 54 central offices that are in my area (driving) nightly. With 28 years seniority I was a highly paid employee working fiber optics for the whole county.
I was REFUSED ANY medical treatment for the first TWO months, even though I begged for help from HELMSMAN. I used my HMO, which wasn't able to help me since it was a WC unless I intended to retain them as my doctors. I had medical papers in my personal company file indicating which orthopedic doctor I wanted to use should an accident ever occur, this was not honored.
After countless medications (anti-inflammatory) I was still in SEVERE pain. I was treated like crap by HELMSMAN as well as LIBERTY MUTUAL who eventually got involved. Nothing has changed nor will EVER change there...
I had MAJOR BACK surgery in MAY 2003 which was to straighten up to support my back using a fusion. I was at a 15 degree arc bent over with very little support only to get worse if I hadn't chosen the operation, so I was told. The orthopedic surgeon was Dr. Linovitzz, who was a well known doctor and one of the finest purportedly--don't believe everything you're told. He only quoted the good cases as many doctors do.
Resulting from this surgery and coming out of the anesthesia there was UNBELIEVABLE SHARP RADIATING pain going from my big toes up to my waist including numbness. A bed sheet put on top of my toes was excruciating. I have NEVER experienced anything worse than this pain. I was told that this would go away in a few months. It has been over one year 3 months and nothing has changed. Dr. Linovitzz said the surgery was successful and tooted his horn. Then why am I worse than I've ever been in my life??? He said I would be off for SIX months (till Dec 2002) after my surgery. He was BOUGHT OFF by LIBERTY MUTUAL case worker, Ms. Nansy Snow, who forced me back to work TWO months AFTER my "MAJOR" surgery.
My job requires that I be able to lift up to 70 pounds, drive a company car to the 54 locations which I was solely responsible, climb ladders, etc. As a result this was not enough time nor treatment in order for me to functionally recuperate. I am still bent over hunched with Kyphosis and Scoliosis barely able to put pressure on my feet and back. I hobble around with poor coordination when walking.
I HAD to hire a lawyer to stop HELMSMAN and LIBERTY MUTUAL constant daily harassment that mentally wore me down. The attorney was worthless. It meant that I had to go through him to get some help getting some of my denied medications. He wouldn't return my calls. I got rid of him.
I was FORCED to leave my job since I couldn't lift over FIVE pounds (many doctors concurred). I took losses on various blocks of time off during my disability (I had relapses!) which after I appealed LIBERTY MUTUAL'S REP SAID I COULD HAVE DONE MY SEDENTARY JOB...WHAT IS SEDENTARY ABOUT repeated bending, stooping, climbing ladders, carrying test sets and equipment, a 15 pound laptop to do testing, etc.?? Apparently she was BLIND as far as what was written and DEAF what she wanted to hear. How convenient...for LIBERTY MUTUAL who was saving SBC some big bucks they had to set aside for my injury plan. When you get injured the insurance company must set aside a certain amount of money (budget) depending on your injury. They have NO intentions of coming close or going over that budget.
I have been DENIED... MEDICATIONS, PSYCHIATRIC HELP (for MAJOR depression), PAIN MANAGEMENT, DOCTORS, MYLEOGRAM, EMG, etc, these were all requested by multiple doctors.
I have had to pay for all of the above items out of my pocket. HELMSMAN was sending me near nothing. I wasn't getting any money from SDI. I was taxed on my disability money as earned income.
I was told my HELMSMAN case adjuster that they hire an independent company to take surveillance video ONE HOUR for EVERY three months on injured workers. She said they had SIX hours of tape on me. In writing they claim they have nothing, let's see when we get to court! The judge views any video RIGHT before they enter the courtroom to hear your case.
Then came our new governor, Arnold Schwarzeneger...who RIPPED OFF ALL the injured workers in California. Now injured workers have to go through THREE meat clinic's referred by WC companies. These are doctors who are PAID to say what the WC companies want to hear. The employee doesn't have a chance. That was Arnold's fix to keeping companies from leaving the state, as if that was going to keep them here. Now those same companies have outsourced into India and SBC is one of them. SBC's first level of DSL tech support is IN INDIA. I won't go into that suffice it to say that those Indians don't comprehend English, add to the frustration.
Here's the bottom line...I understand they have "guidelines" for EVERY type of injury. They also claim that they WANT to see you back to work. What they DON'T do is make sure you can SAFELY return. Had that been the case they should have overlooked their pocketbook budget and allowed me to recuperate fully, returning to work after six months, as Dr. Linovits initially stated in his report. Had I been allowed to do so who knows I may have been healed. Had I been given medication as others I've met I may have overcomed this pain. I am now on Percoset which ISN'T enough to stop the pain (Percoset is a narcotic for those of you that don't know). I feel like a fish out of water 99% of the time squirming to get comfortable.
If you are an injured worker prepare yourself for the worse. Save every penny you have, you're going to need it. Do lots of research BEFORE hiring an attorney. Lots of WC attorneys have stopped taking cases because of the new laws, it's not worth it to them to take your case...unless it's a REAL big one like a quadriplegic or death. Remember it's ALL ABOUT MONEY, not your health or well being. God Bless everyone of you going through hell.
If you would like to contact me you can use the rebuttal box below - if I don't write back soon I may not be feeling well enough to come to the computer but I promise to do so as soon as possible, I'll do my best.
Note: Doctors, case worker, gov. names may have been modified (by one letter), enough so that you can figure it out. CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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