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Permanent disability: Ohio paramedics will be at lower risk

Ohio paramedics in Massillon may find comfort in knowing that the Workers' Compensation Bureau and Community Health Foundation shared the costs of four power cots for the city's ambulances. The lifting of patients will no longer be a threat of permanent disability once the new lifting equipment and cots are installed. The fire chief explained the risks of back injuries to paramedics who have to repeatedly lift each one of approximately 3,500 patients every year.

The fire chief described the procedures required in a hypothetical case in which paramedics have to fetch a victim on dangerous terrain or up some stairs. Upon arrival, they must remove the cot from the emergency vehicle. They must then navigate the terrain to bring the cot to the patient, and after lowering it and putting the patient on it, they have to raise the cot and bring it back to the ambulance. The combined weight of the cot -- about 70 pounds -- and the patient must then be lifted into the ambulance.

Upon arrival at the hospital, the paramedics then lift the cot out of the vehicle and take it into the hospital, where they lift the patient onto a hospital bed before taking the cot back to store it in the ambulance. This process of bringing one patient to the hospital requires at least eight tasks of heavy lifting. Repetition of these actions every day over some years can cause severe health consequences for the emergency workers.

Any paramedic in Ohio whose years of service on ambulances have resulted in a permanent disability might have no other source of income. Even those who are still able to work but need ongoing medical treatment because of the backbreaking occupation may find it difficult to cope with medical expenses. They are all entitled to file claims for benefits from the workers' compensation insurance system. Many choose to seek the guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to pursue recovery of the maximum allowable benefits.

Source: indeonline.com, "Power cots aimed at reducing injury for Massillon paramedics", Amy L. Knapp, Feb. 9, 2017

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