April 2, 1995
BILL ADDS INSULT TO INJURED WORKERS
To the Editor: Once again the Oregon Legislature is considering bills to change benefits to the injured worker.
The Oregon Workers Compensation System is already the most physically, emotionally and financially draining experience anyone should have to go through, but now they are looking at restricting benefits to workers "if their injuries could be attributed to age, gender or `predisposed' conditions." How could any reputable physician determine if an injury occurred due to a person's age, gender or predisposition? At the very least, this could be considered conjectural; at the most, discriminatory.
During my 20 years of working with injured workers, I have found 20-year-olds in overall very poor physical condition and 60-year-olds in overall excellent condition. Their one similarity was never expecting to be in a position where due to on-the-job injuries they could no longer work in their chosen vocational fields and then had to fight for every type of assistance.
Perhaps legislators should meet with the average injured worker and see for themselves those who have lost all prospects of financial security -- and often financial and emotional support -- all the while waiting for their claims for medical treatment to be approved.
Judy Durgan McKenzie