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Kaiser Permanente and Worker's Compensation 
This Section of the Kaiser Papers is for the Employees of Kaiser and The Permanente


My story - working for Kaiser Permanente, Getting injured by Paul D. Stutrud

 I was working as a union construction electrician, remodeling the two facilities in Richmond when they posted for a stationary engineer's job in Martinez.  One electrician friend of mine had already shipped over and was working at 
the Richmond hospitals.  He loved it.

     I went out to Martinez and talked to the engineering department  superintendent.  I was more than qualified and I got the job.  At first on a probationary,  20 hours or more basis.  Then I made permanent 40 hour employee.  During my 
employment I found a lot of things that needed to be done and did them.  Then the position of Superintendent came up.  I applied, along with a guy from  southern California.  I was well qualified for that position because I had worked 
in a number of "leadership"  capacities as a foreman, general foreman,  superintendent before.  I didn't get the job.

      The guy who got the job had political connections, which I think made the  difference.

      Oh well.  Anyway, I made permanent employee and three months later, I was  injured on the job.  Hurt my back.  At first I thought I had simply pulled a  muscle.  A week later I was in severe pain.  I was seen by the employee Nurse  Practitioner, given a prescription for pain medication and told I could go home.  No X-rays were taken and I was not seen by a regular physician -- even though  there was an emergency ward downstairs.

      The next day I was in such severe pain I could not get out of bed!  I called  in and arrangements were made for me to go to a physical therapist.  Not at  Kaiser but an outside group.

      First thing, I was asked if I had any X-rays.  I told them no.  So the guy  sort of guessed at what he thought was wrong.  "I think you have partially  dislocated your left hip!"  He tried different things after putting me on heat packs 
and cold packs.  The pain was terrible.  I made add that I had been a  faithful follower of the Royal Canadian Air Force X-10 exercise routine for 20 years. 
 

     I had also been accepted to be a test subject in a 54 day Multiple Space  Shuttle simulation for NASA down at the Aames Research Lab in Mountain View.  I  was one of ten selected out of a large group of applicants.  We were labeled as  aerobic/athletic.  We were subjected to a series of tests three times that  included riding in a centrifuge (you've probably seen them on tv or in a movie),  being subjected to very low vacuum pressure, running on a treadmill that got 
faster and steeper as we went through the test and a whole bunch of other  stuff including them taking lots of blood samples, spending 10 days each time in a bed with the foot elevated six inches about the head (causes  upper body congestion like you have in outer space).  It also affects your normal ability to have a bowel movement and to urinate.  And of course, eating  was difficult during this period of time.  And the diet was very restrictive --  no coffee, tea, chocolate, walnuts, cheese, and all kinds of other stuff that  have these micro-chemicals in them that affect your body in space conditions.  

     We also had a little valve installed on our arms in which we received  anti-space sickness drugs.  All-in-all there were 27 different sub-routines of tests  being conducted on us by all these different NASA doctors and technicians. 
Essentially, the routine started with a physical exam.  Then we were put in the  centrifuge and whizzed around until our point of passing out was reached.  Then we ran on a treadmill and did some other tests and finally "theoretically"  we were in space.  Which meant we went down for the ten day bed  rest study:  We were then tested on a supine bicycle (lay down to pedal it)  and were again subjected to the - 70 pounds of vacuum (while laying down) and  then carried in an ambulance to the centrifuge where we were installed in a  prone position for the big spin.

     Anyway, the point of all that is that I have always been in good physical  shape, until my accident.  One doctor told me that if I hadn't been in such good  physical shape I would have really been hurt!

     Three months went by and still no X-rays.  I was seen by five different  doctors who would tell me to take another few weeks off, when I would complain about the pain.

     Finally, the last doctor, a woman, asked me about the X-rays and I told her  I still hadn't been X-rayed.  She ordered them immediately (on a Friday) and  the next Monday called me and asked if I would come in for a Cat-scan.  I did 
and she told me I was being assigned to a "core doctor"  that I had a herniated  disc at L-5.

     At about this time I was also notified by Kaiser that I was to go to San  Francisco to see a QME (Qualified Medical Examiner).  I called Kaiser in Santa  Rosa (where I had been seen by the five doctors and finally had been given the 
X-rays and Cat-scan) and asked if my medical file could be sent to the doctor  in San Francisco.

     I called him and made an appointment and told him my X-rays would be  forwarded to him.  Guess what?  They never made it.  He took about 19 X-rays and told  me that I had a herniated Disc at L-5 and some torn ligaments on my left hip. 
 A few days later I was contacted by someone from Kaiser and told I had  qualified for Workers Comp Rehabilitation.

     Wait a minute!  I thought Kaiser had a program for injured workers to be  able to come back and work at light duty until they were healed!

      I decided I needed an attorney.  Before I had gotten injured, I had worked  as a volunteer at the Marin County Law Library as part of a program through the  Paralegal Certification Program at Sonoma State University. I was in the  program to get certified as a paralegal because I had worked as an expert witness  in construction defect litigation and I thought the paralegal training would  help me be a better witness.

      Anyway, I met a guy who had been a San Francisco police officer and had  gotten hurt once to often.  They had put him into a voc-rehab program.  He was  studying to be a lawyer!  He told me about his Workers Comp attorney and 
recommended her.

      I might add that by the time all this had happened I was now about six  months into being injured.  I had not received my Workers Comp payments a couple of  times and I was still in pain to the point at times it was distracting.

      My attorney told me I needed to get a doctor outside of the Kaiser system.  I did and he X-rayed me and did an MRI and told me I had an inward herniated  disc at L-5 and torn ligaments on my left hip.  Wow!  So what do we do about 
the pain?

      He told me he would be reluctant to operate on a disc that is herniated  inward.  He said the chance of pain relief was about 50-50.  That if I exercised  and took walks and took care of myself the pain would eventually go away.  So,  I didn't have the surgery.

      Then I was told to meet another QME - He didn't take any X-rays or a  Cat-scan or an MRI.  He relied on my doctors stuff.  He told me I qualified for  rehabilitation.  This was in September of 1991.

      I didn't hear any thing from Kaiser until December of 1991.  And then the  voc-rehab counselor asked me if we could wait until after the start of the new  year.  What could I say?  I was still in pain and didn't feel like doing  anything.

     In January 1992 I met with the Voc-rehab counselor.  He gave me some tests  and then sent me to an occupational analyst firm.  They were supposed to help  me decide what kind of work I could do with a herniated disc.  My limitations 
were that I was not to lift anything over ten pounds.   I was not to bend or  twist.  By this time I was wearing a corset.

     After finishing being "Analyzed"  by the occupational analysts I went back  to the Voc-rehab counselor and showed him my test results.  I was to take  computer animation and graphics and to learn how to be a demonstrative evidence  technician.  You know, one of those people who create evidentiary animation's for  jury trials and legal confrontations.  If you remember the O.J. Simpson trial  and some of the stuff they used in it.  That was going to be my new job!

     Well, my counselor knew of a computer school in San Francisco and he made me  an appointment to go see their counselor.  The young woman seemed to know  exactly what I needed.  She told me her father was an attorney and she knew what  I needed.  We made out a program of classes and she told me I needed to start  in about two weeks   Other wise I would be delayed until the class sequence  came around again in six months.

      At this time in my life I had already taken Cobol, Algol, Fortrain Four and  HP Basic. When she told me I would start out in a basic class in Macintosh, I  protested.  I told her I had taken a computer animation class at Sonoma State  University on a MacIntosh.  She said they have to start all their students off  this way to make sure they know all the stuff.

      I went back to my counselor and told him I would have to start by the end of  January (1992).  He was a little perturbed.  He told me we needed to meet  with the insurance rep from Kaiser to fill out an RU-102.  I told him if I didn't  start at the end of the month I would be delayed.  I told him I could  probably cover it on my credit card but I would have to be reimbursed.  He  reluctantly told me to start.

      February 1992 - I get a telegram from my Superintendent at Kaiser in  Martinez.  I am fired!  I am fired retroactively to February 1991.  My medical and  dental insurance are canceled.  I receive a check for a balance of pay I had not 
received in January and a check for a little invention I had submitted.  It  was a micro-switch bed-switch for people with very limited movement abilities. 

Paul may be reached at: 
Paul D. Stutrud

copprfst at onemain.com
   I was working as a union construction electrician, remodeling the two facilities in Richmond when they posted for a stationary engineer's job in Martinez.  One electrician friend of mine had already shipped over and was working at 
the Richmond hospitals.  He loved it.

     I went out to Martinez and talked to the engineering department  superintendent.  I was more than qualified and I got the job.  At first on a probationary,  20 hours or more basis.  Then I made permanent 40 hour employee.  During my 
employment I found a lot of things that needed to be done and did them.  Then the position of Superintendent came up.  I applied, along with a guy from  southern California.  I was well qualified for that position because I had worked 
in a number of "leadership"  capacities as a foreman, general foreman,  superintendent before.  I didn't get the job.

      The guy who got the job had political connections, which I think made the  difference.

      Oh well.  Anyway, I made permanent employee and three months later, I was  injured on the job.  Hurt my back.  At first I thought I had simply pulled a  muscle.  A week later I was in severe pain.  I was seen by the employee Nurse  Practitioner, given a prescription for pain medication and told I could go home.  No X-rays were taken and I was not seen by a regular physician -- even though  there was an emergency ward downstairs.

      The next day I was in such severe pain I could not get out of bed!  I called  in and arrangements were made for me to go to a physical therapist.  Not at  Kaiser but an outside group.

      First thing, I was asked if I had any X-rays.  I told them no.  So the guy  sort of guessed at what he thought was wrong.  "I think you have partially  dislocated your left hip!"  He tried different things after putting me on heat packs 
and cold packs.  The pain was terrible.  I made add that I had been a  faithful follower of the Royal Canadian Air Force X-10 exercise routine for 20 years. 
 

     I had also been accepted to be a test subject in a 54 day Multiple Space  Shuttle simulation for NASA down at the Aames Research Lab in Mountain View.  I  was one of ten selected out of a large group of applicants.  We were labeled as  aerobic/athletic.  We were subjected to a series of tests three times that  included riding in a centrifuge (you've probably seen them on tv or in a movie),  being subjected to very low vacuum pressure, running on a treadmill that got 
faster and steeper as we went through the test and a whole bunch of other  stuff including them taking lots of blood samples, spending 10 days each time in a bed with the foot elevated six inches about the head (causes  upper body congestion like you have in outer space).  It also affects your normal ability to have a bowel movement and to urinate.  And of course, eating  was difficult during this period of time.  And the diet was very restrictive --  no coffee, tea, chocolate, walnuts, cheese, and all kinds of other stuff that  have these micro-chemicals in them that affect your body in space conditions.  

     We also had a little valve installed on our arms in which we received  anti-space sickness drugs.  All-in-all there were 27 different sub-routines of tests  being conducted on us by all these different NASA doctors and technicians. 
Essentially, the routine started with a physical exam.  Then we were put in the  centrifuge and whizzed around until our point of passing out was reached.  Then we ran on a treadmill and did some other tests and finally "theoretically"  we were in space.  Which meant we went down for the ten day bed  rest study:  We were then tested on a supine bicycle (lay down to pedal it)  and were again subjected to the - 70 pounds of vacuum (while laying down) and  then carried in an ambulance to the centrifuge where we were installed in a  prone position for the big spin.

     Anyway, the point of all that is that I have always been in good physical  shape, until my accident.  One doctor told me that if I hadn't been in such good  physical shape I would have really been hurt!

     Three months went by and still no X-rays.  I was seen by five different  doctors who would tell me to take another few weeks off, when I would complain about the pain.

     Finally, the last doctor, a woman, asked me about the X-rays and I told her  I still hadn't been X-rayed.  She ordered them immediately (on a Friday) and  the next Monday called me and asked if I would come in for a Cat-scan.  I did 
and she told me I was being assigned to a "core doctor"  that I had a herniated  disc at L-5.

     At about this time I was also notified by Kaiser that I was to go to San  Francisco to see a QME (Qualified Medical Examiner).  I called Kaiser in Santa  Rosa (where I had been seen by the five doctors and finally had been given the 
X-rays and Cat-scan) and asked if my medical file could be sent to the doctor  in San Francisco.

     I called him and made an appointment and told him my X-rays would be  forwarded to him.  Guess what?  They never made it.  He took about 19 X-rays and told  me that I had a herniated Disc at L-5 and some torn ligaments on my left hip. 
 A few days later I was contacted by someone from Kaiser and told I had  qualified for Workers Comp Rehabilitation.

     Wait a minute!  I thought Kaiser had a program for injured workers to be  able to come back and work at light duty until they were healed!

      I decided I needed an attorney.  Before I had gotten injured, I had worked  as a volunteer at the Marin County Law Library as part of a program through the  Paralegal Certification Program at Sonoma State University. I was in the  program to get certified as a paralegal because I had worked as an expert witness  in construction defect litigation and I thought the paralegal training would  help me be a better witness.

      Anyway, I met a guy who had been a San Francisco police officer and had  gotten hurt once to often.  They had put him into a voc-rehab program.  He was  studying to be a lawyer!  He told me about his Workers Comp attorney and 
recommended her.

      I might add that by the time all this had happened I was now about six  months into being injured.  I had not received my Workers Comp payments a couple of  times and I was still in pain to the point at times it was distracting.

      My attorney told me I needed to get a doctor outside of the Kaiser system.  I did and he X-rayed me and did an MRI and told me I had an inward herniated  disc at L-5 and torn ligaments on my left hip.  Wow!  So what do we do about 
the pain?

      He told me he would be reluctant to operate on a disc that is herniated  inward.  He said the chance of pain relief was about 50-50.  That if I exercised  and took walks and took care of myself the pain would eventually go away.  So,  I didn't have the surgery.

      Then I was told to meet another QME - He didn't take any X-rays or a  Cat-scan or an MRI.  He relied on my doctors stuff.  He told me I qualified for  rehabilitation.  This was in September of 1991.

      I didn't hear any thing from Kaiser until December of 1991.  And then the  voc-rehab counselor asked me if we could wait until after the start of the new  year.  What could I say?  I was still in pain and didn't feel like doing  anything.

     In January 1992 I met with the Voc-rehab counselor.  He gave me some tests  and then sent me to an occupational analyst firm.  They were supposed to help  me decide what kind of work I could do with a herniated disc.  My limitations 
were that I was not to lift anything over ten pounds.   I was not to bend or  twist.  By this time I was wearing a corset.

     After finishing being "Analyzed"  by the occupational analysts I went back  to the Voc-rehab counselor and showed him my test results.  I was to take  computer animation and graphics and to learn how to be a demonstrative evidence  technician.  You know, one of those people who create evidentiary animation's for  jury trials and legal confrontations.  If you remember the O.J. Simpson trial  and some of the stuff they used in it.  That was going to be my new job!

     Well, my counselor knew of a computer school in San Francisco and he made me  an appointment to go see their counselor.  The young woman seemed to know  exactly what I needed.  She told me her father was an attorney and she knew what  I needed.  We made out a program of classes and she told me I needed to start  in about two weeks   Other wise I would be delayed until the class sequence  came around again in six months.

      At this time in my life I had already taken Cobol, Algol, Fortrain Four and  HP Basic. When she told me I would start out in a basic class in Macintosh, I  protested.  I told her I had taken a computer animation class at Sonoma State  University on a MacIntosh.  She said they have to start all their students off  this way to make sure they know all the stuff.

      I went back to my counselor and told him I would have to start by the end of  January (1992).  He was a little perturbed.  He told me we needed to meet  with the insurance rep from Kaiser to fill out an RU-102.  I told him if I didn't  start at the end of the month I would be delayed.  I told him I could  probably cover it on my credit card but I would have to be reimbursed.  He  reluctantly told me to start.

      February 1992 - I get a telegram from my Superintendent at Kaiser in  Martinez.  I am fired!  I am fired retroactively to February 1991.  My medical and  dental insurance are canceled.  I receive a check for a balance of pay I had not 
received in January and a check for a little invention I had submitted.  It  was a micro-switch bed-switch for people with very limited movement abilities. 

Paul may be reached at: 
Paul D. Stutrud

copprfst at onemain.com
 



























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