In 2008, a worker on an oil rig was left in a coma after suffering a traumatic workplace injury. The man was working on a bromine well when a piece of steel casing weighing roughly 600 pounds had fallen from some equipment 30-feet overhead and struck the worker in the head and arm. Houston, Texas maritime workers such as deck hands, longshoreman and those who work on or near oil rigs and drilling platforms know all too well the dangers inherent in the type of work they perform every day.
This man could have been killed in the accident and in the majority of situations, he probably would have been, but instead he lay comatose in a hospital bed while doctors struggled to keep the swelling down in his brain. After three days he was successfully pulled from the coma but his recovery was only just beginning. The worker spent much time in different hospitals and in the care of various specialists to determine the full extent of his injuries, which at one point left him without the use of his left arm.
This particular story demonstrates how a serious workplace accident can affect a person's life and family long after the hospital stay. This man, like many others severely injured in maritime accidents had to learn how to live with his current physical limitations. His family also had to adjust to the new reality of a father and husband who had to learn how to perform basic daily functions, like dressing and bathing himself.
It takes a lot of courage for someone who was successful in their chosen career to accept that that employment is no longer a possibility. To make the necessary adjustments to the physical limitations as well the mental and emotional toll these changes require is no small feat, but that is exactly what this man did. After his intensive rehabilitation and recovery, he decided that since he was no longer able to return to his job on the oil rig he would seek a new path to professional satisfaction as a physical therapist.
After conquering the many challenges he faced he was able to get the training and certifications he needed to follow his new dream of helping others overcome their physical challenges. When a person is injured on the job, and is made permanently disabled and unable to return to that form of employment there are a number of protections afforded to that employee to aid in his or her recovery and retraining for a new profession.
Source: Today's THV, "Ark. man recovers from traumatic head injury," Dec. 20, 2012
Our Houston, Texas, personal injury law firm helps injured maritime workers with Jones Act claims, or maintenance and cure issues protect their rights. Visit our Texas Maritime Law website if you would like to learn more.