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Workplace Injury—Don’t Trust Your Boss’ Doctor!

If there’s one rule I’ve learned through my recent experience, it’s this: don’t ever trust a doctor your company sends you to.

A little backstory here: I work in a paper mill in Texas. Which one doesn’t matter. I don’t want all of this known since some issues are ongoing. Just, it’s a paper mill in Texas.

I’ve been there about three years. I like the job alright. The pay is pretty decent and compared to the stuff I was doing before, I enjoy it much more (or I did at least).

I worked a lot in the service industry before getting in the mill, and I’m just not much of a service guy. I’m not a people guy. I like who I like and I want to be left alone otherwise. The mill leaves me alone when I want it. The work’s repetitive, but I like that since I can focus on my own thoughts and just get through the day.

All of that has been good for three years. I got out of debt. I found a nice place to rent (I’d been staying with some distant relatives before that since my family lives out East). I got a girlfriend. Then lost her. Then got her again.

Everything was going great until three months ago when I picked up a nasty chemical burn while processing the wood chips. There’s a sulfur solution we use, and someone didn’t attach something right…it’s more complicated that I want to get into here…and I got some of the nasty concoction on my arm.

It hurt like I don’t know what. I can’t compare it to anything. The whole place came to a standstill because over all the machinery, everyone heard my screams. Apparently, I passed out after that. I woke up in my boss’ office, and he was calling for a doctor to come take care of me. At the time, I was grateful. I had a drink. They’d bandaged me up and put something on my arm to ease the pain. They may have given me an injection, although there wasn’t a doctor there yet, so I don’t know. Maybe it was shock.

Anyway, the doctor came, saw me, gave me a prescription and sent me home to heal. All of that seemed natural until my girlfriend pointed out this was a workplace injury, and there was surely protocol to follow.

So, I called up the boss and asked, and he said he’d take care of everything.

By “take care”, I found out, he meant he’d just ignore the whole thing. They gave me three days off, and then I got a call heavily hinting I should take the weekend and be back on Monday. When I called on Monday and said my arm still hurt, I was told directly I had to report to work on Tuesday or I’d be fired.

Well, I complained then. I said I was injured at work, and I was pretty sure I had rights. Well, turns out, the doctor cleared me to come back to work. He does stuff for that mill all the time. I heard this from a guy who works there.

So, I lost that job. I’m looking into suing now. But what do I know about that?

What a mess. All because I trusted their doctor.

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