Workers injured on the job must understand their rights. For example, if you suffer a common back or neck injury requiring medical treatment, you, the injured worker, select the doctor of your choice. Your employer cannot force you to treat with a certain “company” nurse, doctor, or the local occupational medical clinic.

Your employer can require you to go to a certain health care provider or occupational medical clinic for post-injury drug testing; however once that testing is completed, you may then seek treatment from the doctor of your choice, including your family medical doctor or family chiropractor.

Recently in the same two-week period, I consulted, examined, and successfully treated five different injured workers, none of whom had been informed of their treatment rights. One glaring example was an electrician who while being required to climb quickly up a ladder during a safety drill, struck his head hard on a sprinkler head connecedt to a steel pipe, injuring and hyperextending his neck. He was instructed to go to the local occupational medical clinic for treatment, never being told he had the right to treat with the doctor of his choice. He was treated for over four months with only medications and watchful waiting; however, his neck pain and headaches only worsened. Out of frustration, a secretary at his work suggested he see me. Five treatments and his neck pain and headaches were gone, ending four months of needless suffering.

If you are injured at work, you choose your doctor.

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Vern Saboe

Albany (Oct. 1)


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