Don’t Hold Back when Talking to Your Doctor After a Work Injury
Candid conversations and full disclosure of symptoms to physicians are crucial following a work-related accident. Disclosing all symptoms and their impact is essential for correctly diagnosing the extent of the injuries. It also helps establish the impact the injuries have on the individual’s quality of life, ability to work, and expectations for the future. When meeting with doctors, individuals should hold nothing back.
Dealing with the Worst
Some symptoms wax and wane. One day the individual feels fine, while the next it feels like they were hit by a truck. This is why it is essential to describe the worst symptoms the injured worker experiences. It is also important to provide the physician with information related to any existing injuries or illnesses. This helps the physician understand the true extent of the injury.
Complete disclosure also helps the physician understand the stresses the injury is creating throughout the body. This is essential because individuals often put additional stress on the opposite arm, leg, hand, etc. to compensate for the injured counterpart. This increases the likelihood of excessive strain on these body parts which can lead to secondary injuries. This can slow the individual’s healing and delay the ability to return to work when the initial injury heals.
Discussing Treatments, Returning to Work, and Records
The workers’ compensation doctor plays a critical role in the healing process. Their recommendations are used to determine which medical treatments the individual will receive. They also determine which specialists to refer the injured worker to see, and when the individual can return to work. Further, the physician’s opinion is used to determine whether the individual qualifies for temporary or permanent disability benefits.
As such, candid conversation is crucial for the recovery process. If the individual does not thoroughly discuss their symptoms and the full impact on their range of motion, etc., then the physician may fail to prescribe the appropriate treatment. Worse still, the physician may clear the individual to work before the body has fully healed. This can exacerbate the injury and lead to the need for additional treatment at the worker’s expense down the road.
Finally, individuals should thoroughly monitor their records. These records should indicate levels of pain, progress towards healing, and treatments prescribed. Any deficiencies or errors that exist within the records should be promptly addressed and amended. This helps protect the individual’s workers’ compensation claim against disputes.