Visitor Question

What can I do about doctor ordering me back to full duty?

Submitted By: Janice (Hilo, Hawaii)

I broke my 5th metacarpal at work on March 18, 2018. But I couldn’t get a doctor for 12 days. When I did, the doctor put a cast on for 2½ weeks, then removed it and made me go to work light duty for 2 weeks. Then after 2 weeks of light duty I was told to go back full duty.

I tried to ask the doctor questions concerning my hand but he just kept saying “I don’t know.” As he started to leave the office he said “full duty.”

I am nurse’s aide in a long term care. I have many total patients and by the end of my shift my hand is purple and extremely painful. I tried to find another doctor but no one wants to take me as a patient.

What am I to do? Living like this is hell. Please give me some direction as I have never been on workers comp, so like I said I don’t know what to do. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Janice,

In Hawaii, injured workers are permitted to select a doctor of their choice. You may obtain treatment from a physician of your choice who is practicing on the island you reside on.

However, some physicians elect not to treat patients with a work injury, which is the physician’s option. This is apparently happening to you. If your chosen physician chooses not to treat your work injury, then it is incumbent on you to choose a different physician.

You may change your attending physician once. If you can find another physician who is willing to treat you, you must notify your employer’s workers comp insurance company before making the change. Any other changes in physician require approval from your employer, or your employer’s insurance company.

If you are injured workers compensation should pay for the following:

  • Medical treatments for the injury
  • Hospital charges
  • Prescription drugs ordered by your doctor.
  • X-rays as prescribed
  • CT  Scans and MRIs
  • Physical therapy as ordered by your doctor
  • Reasonable transportation expense incidental to treatment (keep track of your expenses and mileage.)

For more information of Hawaii Workers Compensation go to the State of Hawaii Disability Compensation Division.

Learn more here: Returning to Work After Injury

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


2 thoughts on “What can I do about doctor ordering me back to full duty?

  1. Keoi says:

    I work for a major medical foundation , I slipped and injured my shoulder. I returned back to work still under workers comp doctors care w/ no lifting of 5lbs or more.

    After 3 months (03/2020) the pain continued to get worse, so the Orthopedic specialist took me off of work after a few visits and injection.

    X-ray and MRI showed a rotator cuff tear. Due to COVID pandemic the surgery was not till late October 2020. I am still doing PT 2x a week. Pain in my shoulder has increased. After a check up with the Orthopedic he has advise another surgery due to limited movement and pain.

    What I would like to know is will I still have a job after returning with no restrictions? I’m actually looking forward to returning! I’m just a bit worried if I have a job to come back to.

  2. Mike says:

    My doctor has released me to light duty. Since the main office of the company is in Ohio and I am in Missouri the insurance company has been trying to get a non-profit organization to hire me for free and the company will pay my wages at the going rate for that job.

    So far it has been unsuccessful. The company that the insurance company is using is telling the non-profit that I can fulfill duties that are beyond my restrictions. When I show up and give them the paper from the doctor they don’t accept me.

    I call the adjuster and tell them, and the company sometimes takes up to a week to email them. During that time since I was assigned to that company I only get the offset that the insurance company provides me for the week.

    Even though I haven’t worked one hour. I was turned away. They are also trying to get me to drive as much as 120 miles round-trip per day at my own expense to get to the assignment.

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