Osteoarthritis from keyboarding...

by M
(New York)

I work in a very busy call center, which consists of constant and very fast keyboarding. About 2 years into my job my right hand had a great deal of pain and trouble holding things, and now pain when using my hand, which is constant. I am right handed.

I had a cortisone injection which gave me relief for a few months. It got unbearable again, so I went to an orthopedist who said it was pretty bad osteoarthritis, and I had no cartilage at the base of my thumb. I received another cortisone injection, which gave me relief (this was 7 months after the 1st injection).

Soon after I started getting pain in both my left and right hands in the same areas. My right was far worse, but the pain in my left was pretty bad. I was again given cortisone injections in each hand (this was 4 months after my 2nd injection).

It is now really bad in both hands and I have a 4th appointment set up with an orthopedic doctor for both hands again (this will be 4 months after my last visit).

I have a hand brace which I can wear at home, but it gets in the way at my job. I can't take anti-inflammatory meds due to gastric issues. This condition seems to be worsening. I put up with it until I can't take it anymore, then I call the orthopedist. I'm not sure what my rights are living in Nassau County, NY.

My doctor has mentioned a possible surgery, but I believe the recuperating period and physical therapy is long and my sick days would never cover it. I'm also worried that surgery could make it worse. What are my rights for getting time off for the surgery? Can I go on disability? Is my employer responsible for paying for everything? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Osteoarthritis from keyboarding...":

M (New York):

You should be covered by workers' compensation insurance. Contact your supervisor and tell her about your injury, if you haven't done so already. Ask to be referred to a company-approved doctor. That doctor will be called your Primary Care Physician.

From the facts you present, the doctor will recognise your injury and recommend appropriate medical treatment. This includes referring you to another company-approved orthopedist.

If the doctors believe you are unable to work at your assigned job due to your injury, your company may transfer you to another position that will permit you to engage in duties which would not aggravate your injury.

During the time you are receiving workers' compensation benefits you will not have to pay any money out of your own pocket for medical treatment. Moreover, if the doctor believes you are unable to work at any position during the time of your treatment and convalescence, you will not be required by your employer to do so.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION