Because You're The Catch!
With 15 years of railroading and 11 years working as an investigator on FELA work injury cases, I would like to give you some insight in the dealings that you may encounter with rehabilitation nurses.
It is becoming more and more common that if you are injured on the railroad during your recovery period you will have a rehab nurse or “medical coordinator” assigned to your case. This person will introduce themselves as someone who is there to work with you on your recovery and who has your best interest at heart. Mind you, this is coming from someone who gets paid by the railroad! I have seen all too often that the railroad has the railroad's interest in mind and not yours. I would like to share with you some of the experiences our clients have had over the years.
One instance involved an injured railroader who mentioned to his doctor, in front of the re-hab nurse, that he and his wife and children would be celebrating the upcoming holiday at a local amusement park. The railroader assured the doctor that he wouldn’t go on any rides and he would limit his walking. He noted that he had been good on his word about not driving a vehicle since his injury, and would do the same regarding roller coasters, etc. Since he had three young children, he said he felt he had to go.
"SURVEILLANCE SHOULD BE ORDERED"
It wasn’t long after this conversation when the railroader received a call from “a friend,” informing him that the rehab nurse had faxed the claims department a note on all the patients / employees she was working with. Under the railroader’s name on the fax, the nurse wrote to the railroad, Mr. So & So " on the upcoming holiday will be ACTIVE and surveillance should be ordered.” So much for the railroader’s best interest. The rehab nurse gets paid by the railroad and knows what side her bread is buttered on.
Another railroader’s experience is just as bad. Upon seeing his own doctor, who had scheduled a surgery for carpal tunnel, the nurse made an appointment for him to see the railroad’s specialist. During that visit, the railroader was informed that the company doctor would be doing the surgery. At that point, the railroader explained to the company doctor that he already had a surgery scheduled with a doctor of his own choosing who would be in charge of the operation. The company doctor huddled with the nurse and then gave the railroader a return to work slip. So much for the railroader’s best interest. The rehab nurse gets paid by the company, and the railroad likes results for its money.
A final experience told to me by yet another railroader isn’t quite as bad as the first two. However, when you’re off work injured, with less money on the table to feed the family, with bills mounting and stress rising, even the smallest nuisance isn’t needed. This railroader saw his doctor on rotating days in the early evening so he could be home with his kids while his wife worked. She had to get a job after his work injury to help out the family. The railroader’s Tuesday night appointments, however, were being canceled by the rehab nurse, resulting in his treatments being pushed back, which delayed his ability to return to work. After a while, the doctor asked the nurse why she was canceling on Tuesday nights. The answer surprised everyone -- it was her aerobics class night. Once again, so much for the railroader’s best interest.
We all have jobs to do. It’s unfortunate that a rehab nurse’s job isn’t always in your best interest.
If you are ever injured and have a rehab nurse assigned to your case:
Keep in mind that the rehab nurse is just doing his or her job and wants to please the railroad.
Don’t get visibly angry with the re-hab nurse.
Always be courteous to the re-hab nurse.
Be truthful when providing the re-hab nurse with updated information.
Contact the rehab nurse ASAP if you need to cancel an appointment.
Do not let your rehab nurse dictate your treatment or interfere with your patient/physician relationships.
When there is a conflict between the rehab nurse’s wishes and the opinions of your treating physician, always listen to your own doctor.
- And, if you ever have any questions regarding something the rehab nurse is doing or asking you to do, call me or any personal injury lawyer at Hoey & Farina for assistance. We’re always available 24hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-425-1212 to help you.