A recap for those who don’t happen to know this story yet. I was poisoned with Freon in 2018 over a 5 month period. I told my bosses and the doctors that I have had palpitations since I was a teenager and a family history of irregular heart beat and that I was experiencing a increase in palpitations as well as heart thumping and fluttering. I also told them about a study from Cairo that suggest unprotected occupational exposure to Freon can induce Cardiac Arrhythmias. I was told over and over from multiple walk in doctors, my employer, and WCB themselves when I attempted to reach out to them that Freon cannot cause irregular heart beat, and that I did not have irregular heart beat. The very first thing I asked for was a Holter to wear while working in the shop and when I was told that wasn’t happening, I asked for unemployment. It became rather clear I wasn’t getting that so instead of going back and risking a heart attack or death, I quit.
imgur.com/pW19lHM are pictures I created to show the working environment I was in. There is no question I was being exposed to gas. According to a article, only 80% of the gas is recovered through “vapor recovery”. I have to wonder exactly how much Freon I was exposed to over that period in time, especially during the 2 weeks that a reclamation machine was leaking which is what prompted me to seek medical help.
Employees should be screened for history of certain medical conditions … which might place the employee at increased risk from dichlorodifluoromethane exposure. Cardiovascular disease: In persons with impaired cardiovascular function, especially those with a history of cardiac arrhythmias, the inhalation of dichlorodifluoromethane might cause exacerbation of disorders of the conduction mechanism due to its sensitizing effects on the myocardium. … Any employee developing the above-listed conditions should be referred for further medical examination.
Mackison, F. W., R. S. Stricoff, and L. J. Partridge, Jr. (eds.). NIOSH/OSHA - Occupational Health Guidelines for Chemical Hazards. DHHS(NIOSH) Publication No. 81-123 (3 VOLS). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, Jan. 1981., p. 1
I was dumb enough to believe that these doctor’s and professionals knew what they were talking about so I just kept taking blood pressure medication which was doing nothing to alleviate the palpitations or blood pressure which my cardiologist logged at 190/110 at the beginning of our visit that came down to 170/110. This was in May. I was then forced to wait with this dangerous blood pressure until I was given a Holter in October. My holter clearly showed a “mild” arrhythmia.
After getting proof of the irregular heart beat, I filed a claim for missed work time foolishly thinking that WCB was going to do the right thing. They called me once in 2019, asked who my family doctor was before the “incident”. Scoffed when I said I didnt have one ( i was, and still am, physically fit, mentally not so much now ). That was the last time I heard from them until a year later in 2020 when I received a call to resubmit my claim. I filed my claim, again, thinking that I would be taken seriously this time. I was at this point ready to move on and I didn’t feel like fighting the decision and was ready to accept what they told me.
Then after a couple weeks, I get a call telling me that they had made their decision. They told me that Freon cannot cause palpitations and that I did not have irregular heart beat.
I was absolutely blown away, I still get shaken up because my heart, to this day is still sensitized to adrenaline and being a immigrant from Appalachia, im not equipped to deal with social situations where people straight up lie to me. I was told by my case worker I had a year to file an appeal and that they would mail me the decision. But they never did. When I finally calmed down, 3 months later, I realized I only have 30 days to file a appeal. They lied to me. I was advised by a lawyer at coastal law who declined to take the case because “there wasnt enough money” to ask for the written decision and appeal because it is my right.
So I appealed, thinking it was a mistake. After all in their decision, the cardiologist lied and claimed I told him I ran out of blood pressure medication, and someone, not sure if it was WCB or my Doctor, picked and pulled reports out of another Doctor’s reports and rearranged them to fit their narrative. My employer also claimed that I never told them what happened. All things that I can prove. I filed a complaint against my doctor that has been in progress for months now, but I do not expect him to get in trouble for his role in everything. WCB took 3 months, made their decision with out once ever contacting me and published it to the online portal, which is broke and has never sent me notifications. They never called me, they never emailed me, they never mailed me a letter. In their decision they just repeated that Freon cannot cause palpitations, and that I do not have irregular heart beat. I am also fairly certain they(or my employer) had a PI tailing me for a few days a month or two AFTER their decision.
After asking for a written decision and appealing within the 30 day window, it was denied because the decision was made outside the 30 day window. But yet, they asked me to file a extension for it. What is the point, this is exactly what WCB wants, and this exactly what they do. Psychologically torture, manipulate, and break their victims. It is also sad that this Doctor, and his friend that Cardiologist, people who are sworn to do good, would just toss me to the wind instead of admitting they messed up. And everyone believes them because I am just a uneducated yokel immigrant. It’s extremely upsetting, I am not a Doctor, but I do know my body better than anyone else does.
God help the injured workers in this province.