Evidence of Long-Term Health Impairments from the Coronavirus Emphasize the Importance of Workers’ Compensation for South Carolina Healthcare Workers Contracting the Virus
Medical reports from treating the coronavirus indicate lasting health impacts for those infected. These reports heighten concerns that the coronavirus causes long-term impairment for which infected healthcare workers should receive workers’ compensation benefits.
The Washington Post reports COVID-19 may be “causing heart inflammation, acute kidney disease, neurological malfunction, blood clots, intestinal damage, and liver problems.” A nephrologist found that half of those hospitalized for the coronavirus have blood or protein in their urine indicating kidney damage. Coronavirus patients are routinely requiring dialysis due to kidney damage. Research in Wuhan, China found evidence of acute kidney injuries from the coronavirus. Cardiologists are finding injuries to coronavirus patients’ hearts.
While too early to tell how the virus is causing this damage, the suspicion among medical professionals is that the virus enters and damages kidney, heart, intestinal and other cells in the same way it enters and damages respiratory tract cells. Another suspicion is the “cytokine storm” the immune system creates when fighting the virus causes the damage to the organs.
These reports emphasize what the public health professionals and authorities have been telling the public for weeks. The coronavirus is incredibly serious. Everyone should hunker down, stay home, and stop the transmission of the virus. Not only is staying home vital for protecting your own health, the lives of healthcare workers and others are in jeopardy.
These reports also emphasize the importance of workers’ compensation for healthcare professionals facing an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 when working to save the lives of others infected with the virus. South Carolina law provides workers’ compensation protections for workers, like healthcare workers, whose work subjects them to an increased risk of contracting a disease. With the coronavirus causing organ damage and potentially long-term health impairment, ensuring healthcare workers obtain the workers’ compensation benefits they are entitled is of even greater importance.
The Steinberg Law Firm has significant, successful experience pursuing workers’ compensation claims for employees exposed to diseases at work. The firm’s previous successes include workers’ compensation claims for hepatitis and Legionnaire’s disease. These claims create challenges not present for other workers’ compensation claims, but with good lawyering they can be successfully pursued.
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