A never-ending feast in fact (if such food takes your fancy)!
It is the eve of my appointment at the Medical Panels. Tomorrow I will see the 12th lot of medical practitioners and the 8th lot of psychiatrists that I’ve had to see to obtain no less than four medical panel opinions.
If you haven’t come across my history, here, entertain yourself – it’s quite a few mouthfuls, even for a large dog!
To summarise the situation, my three medical panel opinions all ‘confirm’ that I have a Chronic Pain Disorder (no mention of neuropathic pain), that I have a total 0% whole person impairment, and that I have a limited capacity to work – and that will be the case for the rest of my life. They do not appear to have considered the diagnosis of pudendal neuralgia (which at least does attract an impairment rating).
This poor excuse for a diagnosis (Chronic Pain Disorder) not only awards me the whopping sum of $0 for my impairment lump sum, but also makes my two stimulation implants irrelevant to my supposed ‘psychological condition’. It allows the WorkSafe insurer to offer me a 10 month settlement on my first 93cd application and avoid paying me partial weekly wages for the rest of my life for reasons I’m yet to fully comprehend. Apparently it has something to do with payslips.
Theo called Worksafe again today seeking to find out the reason why the insurer didn’t accept my medical slips as recommended by the Conciliator (it had been three weeks since he heard the reassuring news – ‘I haven’t opened the email yet’). There was no answer forthcoming, other than the vague protocol response.
In a recent letter in response to our Worksafe complaint about the matter, I received this explanation:
‘In accordance with the Act, the matter was referred to the Medical Panel who provided an opinion on her medical condition and incapacity. (Insurer) accepted the opinion of the Medical Panel on the issues of the nature of her medical condition and her incapacity, however rejected the application on the basis of the value of Ms Mantalvanos’ earnings.’
Theo raised a fair question today:
Are we going back to the Medical Panel for adjudication of a financial matter?
It appears the answer is yes. And furthermore, everyone is quite happy to go along with this charade, knowing full well no financial matters can be discussed during the Panel’s appointment – that is not the Panel’s brief.
So, knowing all this I am expected to sit through the appointments tomorrow, repeating my complete 10 year story, removing my clothing to be examined by those who are part of a system that has never understood nor properly diagnosed my condition. All they are likely to do is measure my four scars and have a learned discussion. Then I have to wait up to 60 days for the response from this medical panel.
You think that’s a long time? There’s more… and it was confirmed by WorkSafe on the phone today.
Theo and I can expect that the insurer will most likely respond with a request for another conciliation meeting (which is what they did last 93cd application). That will probably take them a month to arrange, with (I’m estimating) the date set for conciliation taking another month. My legal representatives will need their time to respond and by then we’re all getting ready to celebrate Christmas 2017.
This injured worker, has yet to see a cent, let alone a dollar!
This injured worker has sold her home and embarked on a whole new life on account of the outcome from the last 93cd application nightmare.
And this is all part of a routine day’s work for the employees of WorkSafe, the recalcitrant insurer, the Convenor of Medical Panels, the 5 ‘professionals’ who will assess me tomorrow, and the staff at the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service. It is even a routine matter for the person who wrote the referral letter requesting the following:
To ensure the safety of all Medical Panels staff and members of the public don’t bring any objects that could be used as a weapon to your appointment…
Theo and I have recreated a position and new life based around my health issue. We’ve made the sacrifices and put everything on the line. We are doing this with a smile on our faces.
There are many things that annoy me in this system (obviously) but the stigma that injured workers endure within the the system is by far one of the most annoying consequences they face.
I don’t really need to go to any medical appointment to clarify my situation – it’s clear to me as I live it every minute. That situation is clear to my employer (who made a position for me at a time when no one else could employ me). It is clear to my pain management team, to my family, to my community, but it’s not clear to those who are responsible for operating this system.
So the various players in the game will sit together continuing to dish up more breakfasts for more injured workers. Will they troop off to see a movie, perhaps “I, Daniel Blake” might be showing. Even if they do, I doubt the message the film contains would register in their heads.