Some years ago, I tore my trapezius.
I had a patient who was, quite frankly….wider than she was tall. She was very ill and had a trach, and was on a vent. She had pneumonia.
She developed CDiff. Naturally, this meant she was constantly incontinent. Her family refused to let us insert a fecal management system. Reason stated: “You should just clean her up, because that is your job”.
So we did. Constantly, on a bariatric bed, with her fighting us because she did not wish to be turned. However, she was laying in her own excrement and her power of attorney authorized us to clean her up. The bed was very wide, and it was hard to turn her even when she was not fighting us. She was also very short, and slid down in the bed every 5 minutes.
We used a piece of equipment at the time called a ‘Maxi-Slide’. We would roll her to clean her up, then place a new maxi-slide and a pad underneath her. The maxi-slide ALWAYS became soiled because she was short and slid, moving the pads out of position.
So, try this 20 times a night. Talk about an exhausting assignment. I had her for three days in a row, and we eventually ran out of Maxi-slides. In the whole hospital. When I realized we were running low on night two, I asked for more. They were not provided.
So when she had the same issues on night three, I tore my trapezius moving her with no safety equipment. There we no lifts or other equipment available. She was literally five hundred pounds. I reported to Employee Health per policy. It became immediately obvious that they didn’t give a damn that I was hurt.
I was grilled about why I didn’t use the provided safety equipment. I explained the situation to the Employee Health department and I was told that I should have found another solution. I was also told that they did not ‘pay for injuries for employees who failed to follow policy’.
Yes, this happened.
They sent me to an urgent care and I was examined by a physician who diagnosed me with a torn trapezius. I was given medications and sent home, to follow up with a specialist the following day. I did not QUITE need surgery, thank goodness. But I lost wages, and spent a great deal of time in pain. When I returned to work, the company wanted me to pay for and take a FOUR HOUR PATIENT MOVEMENT CLASS.
I told them to piss off, and soon after found a new job.
I now work for the VA, and I help with the Safe Patient Handling and Mobility program. It is a passion for me. And the VA does this very well.
Please comment and tell me about your experiences with being injured at work.