Moving from the press shop to an assembly line was demeaning for me, however it did give my supervisor an excuse to constantly rate my performance. I was using hammer guns and hand tools and this is how my injury happened. The constant jarring of the guns affected my ulna nerve and I started to lose feeling in my right hand.
I reported it and was told it was just my body getting use to the new environment. I had no idea my supervisor was a medical professional.
Unhappy with that answer I eventually went to my Doctor. I was experiencing tingling in the fingers and severe pain up my arm and at the back of my neck.
I was placed on Workcover and had a certificate that put me on light duties.
I was ostracised from my workmates and given mundane tasks. The doctor that was looking after me fortunately was not a lover of Workcover and its system. He encouraged me not to do anything that caused any aggravation to my injury which then gave the company cause to complain that I my injury was not a genuine one.
I was humiliated, abused and often given tasks that were outside of my restrictions.
Finally I was sent to a nerve specialist who did all sorts of tests.
I remember it vividly sitting in his office awaiting the results.
He came in and told me he couldn’t find anything wrong. I broke down and cried.
He then told me that it didn’t mean that there wasn’t anything wrong; he just hadn’t found it yet.
The Doctor asked me if I would do exactly what I was told, I said yes. He said he would take on my case telling me straight out that if he thought I was faking it he wouldn’t take me on. He told me to keep the doctor I had seen at the clinic. He got rid of my physiotherapist and psychologist making appointments to see others that he trusted.
The company was not happy. I did everything I was asked and the company decided that Workcover needed to intervene as they felt that I was being difficult.
Author Steve Boddey