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Any Workers Comp Cases Involving IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis) ?
#1
Is anybody out there aware of, or familiar with, any cases of someone with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis qualifying for Workers Comp???



I am currently on an unpaid leave, under FMLA, from my job with the State of New Hampshire. During the past year and a half, I have been plagued with frequent illness that were initially diagnosed and treated as severe upper respiratory infections. In August of last year, I had one of these illnesses, but this time the antibiotics did not alleviate all of the symptoms. After chest x-rays and a CT scan, my primary care physician referred me to a pulmonary specialist. After a battery of lung function tests and further CT scan and x-rays, the specialist said that I either had a hypersensitivity pnuemonitis - most likely related to an severe allergic reaction to dust, mold, or other foreign bodies that had gotten into my lungs - or, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF - a degenerative, terminal lung disease). On Dec. 26, 2007, I had an open chest lung biopsy and the results were not able to conclusively rule out either. Since that time, steroid treatment has been tried (which would be very effective for the hypersensitivity) and found to be ineffective. Subsequently, I had an appt. with a specialist in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston. I will be doing follow-up with him for further testing and also put into the transplant evaluation program (lung transplant being the only real "treatment" for IPF). As of January 6, the pulmonary specialist in Concord classified me at totally disabled - I am on oxygen 24 hours a day, and unable to return to work, either part or full-time.

I firmly believe that the lung problems I have developed stem from the inadequate ventilation and poor air quality of the "office space" at the Planetarium I have been working in for the past 2 years. The are was never designed to be office space - it was originally designed as a mechanical room! There are no windows, poor ventilation, low ceilings, and bare concrete floors. Currently, there are 6 full-time and numerous part-time people sharing this small space. During the two years I have been there, there have been ongoing issues with leaks in the ceilings from the HVAC ducts. Fumes from copiers and printers have no place to go (but in our lungs).



I was told that I would not be able to file for Workers Comp because there was no one incident or accident that started my problems. Because IPF is a chronic, gradual, degenerative disease, this would be difficult to pinpoint. Any feedback that could be provided would be gratefully appreciated!
 
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#2
new hampshire allows comp claims for occupational diseases:
"The injured worker has two (2) years from the date of injury to notify the employer of his injury in order to make a claim for benefits. In cases where an occupational illness develops gradually and an injury is not immediately recognized by the claimant, the claimant must provide notice the date he or she knows, or by reasonable diligence should have known, of the nature of the injury and its possible relationship to the employment."

You will need written medical opinion that the condition is related to your employment in order to get beenfits.
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#3
Welcome Knip

You might try posting on the following site.

http://www.huff-n-puff.net/newforum/

Maybe there is a mold issue with the leaky ceilings which mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis or maybe sick building syndrome.

I also have pulmonary problems related to the work place (hypersensitivity pneumonitis and occupational asthma) but in a manufacturing setting.
Nothing changes when nothing changes
 
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#4
idiopathic means exactly that: "occurring without known cause."
so while you may be correct it will never be known to a reasonable degree of medical certainty which is the test for casual relationship; i.e. 51% likely. I imagine any atty would tell you the same but the best source for exposure, pathogens, mold issues remains your pulmunologist and the lung disease support groups on the web. Maybe the diagnosis will change or evolve oner time.
 
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#5
collateraldamage5591 Wrote:Welcome Knip

You might try posting on the following site.

http://www.huff-n-puff.net/newforum/

Maybe there is a mold issue with the leaky ceilings which mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis or maybe sick building syndrome.

I also have pulmonary problems related to the work place (hypersensitivity pneumonitis and occupational asthma) but in a manufacturing setting.

i have pre existing asthma i had a severe asthma attack at work doc put me on 5diffrent meds i had bronchtis 2 days before the attack i was cleared to go back to work and then i had attack.comp has sent me to their doctor he refuses to let me go back there because of the chemicals in the process we do.comp had called me today asked me about my pre asthma and my bronchtis.what does this sound like .they did not refuse or accept my claim they pay for my scripts .i got a lawyer involved.pft testing in may
 
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#6
The biopsy is performed to prove without a doubt that it truely is, (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis). Since even with the biopsy, they are not sure of what it is causing your problem. Meaning the Doctor's don't know what you have. Since they don't know, it sounds like you might encounter some problems bringing to a work comp claim, yet you should still file for it now. Many of things could have brought this on, even prior jobs you had, your own home, and so on.
Reply's are intended solely for informational purposes. They are based on personal opinions, experience, or research and are "not to be taken as fact or legal advice", otherwise, always consult an attorney or a doctor.
 
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#7
Hi,
Do you have access to any saftey memos or emails from your workplace....such as maintainence fixing a leaking air duct, raydon problems, cleaning mold....or days when one had to be evacuated, or other people compalints about air quality, getting headaches etc. If so...gather them up as ammo in your case. Pictures of your work area with overhead looming ductwork, visable mold, or black soot collected at air vent areas would also be of help in proving your case w/ work enviroment. Also get copies of the inks for copiers that state or warn of risks upon inhalation, contact with such etc. MSDS type sheets are also helpful.
With this info, you have fighting power w/ the help of a lawyer.
Take care, LillySmile
Injured worker, & tired of it all! I'm too old for games!!

A careless word may kindle strife, a cruel word may wreck a life, a timely word may level stress, and a loving word may heal and bless!
 
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