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The hazards paramedics face may cause long-term disability

Paramedics are health care professionals who provide pre-hospital assessments and medical care to people with injuries or acute illnesses. In Ontario, they work on land or air ambulances and face hazards on every emergency to which they respond. Their emergency settings can include vehicle and workplace accidents, natural disasters, building collapses, and more.

If you are an emergency medical technician, paramedic or ambulance attendant, you must make on-the-spot decisions about emergency medical care while travelling to medical facilities -- often with lives on the line. Along with the physical harm you could potentially face, you also need exceptional psychological and emotional strength.

Hazards you may face as a paramedic

Injury risks will exist at nearly every location to which you respond. Paramedics face multiple safety threats that could include unstable structures, explosions, fires, falling objects and water. Furthermore, you will have to travel at high speeds, work near traffic, and sometimes work among large crowds who could become violent. Your occupation will also pose the following health risks:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries: Carrying and lifting patients, along with constant kneeling, bending, stretching and awkward body postures cause overexertion. Sprains, strains and muscle tears, along with back injuries are common among paramedics -- often with long-term consequences.
  • Blood-borne pathogens: Splashing bodily fluids or blood and using sharp instruments and needles in unforeseeable conditions can cause exposure to Hepatitis B and C as well as HIV that causes AIDS.
  • Allergies: You could develop an allergy to latex gloves, which causes itching and hives, but a severe reaction can even cause anaphylaxis, which is potentially life threatening.
  • Exposure to chemicals: Medical procedures often include the use of various hazardous chemicals and materials, and the variety of outdoor and indoor environments to which you will respond could also result in dangerous chemical exposure.
  • Physical assault: Not only may you face hostile patients but also bystanders who -- in some cases -- could be intoxicated or street gang members who may threaten you.
  • Hearing loss: The nature of your job can expose you to the excessive noises made by sirens, air horns, power tools and apparatus engines as you rush through traffic and work on extricating patients from entrapment in vehicles or buildings.
  • Psychological stresses: The constant exposure to mental and emotional trauma when you must deal with the fact that the lives of others are in your hands could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD typically brings about depression, nightmares and severe anxiety.

If you fall victim to any of these potential hazards and are unable to return to work, you will probably have many questions and concerns regarding your rights to long-term disability benefits. Your expenses will continue to mount while you have no income, which can make such a trying time even more stressful.

Fortunately, there are resources available to you who can help you navigate this process. An experienced lawyer can thoroughly analyze your specific circumstances and provide the necessary support to ensure you receive the maximum amount of benefits to which you are rightfully entitled. Your lawyer can also fight back against any LTD claims that you feel were wrongfully denied by the insurer.

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