April 1, 2020

Yes, Post Surgical Infections are Covered Under Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law

There is risk to every type of surgery but most of us focus on the possibility that the surgery will not fix the problem it was intended to solve.

  • You underwent a laminectomy at L3/4 but you are still having severe pain radiating into your left hip and weakness in your left leg
  • You underwent a diskectomy and fusion at L5/S1 but the hardware has not remained in place and you can barely walk much less perform any work activity
  • You underwent a carpal tunnel release but your hand is still numb and you cannot rotate your hand at all

Poor results from surgery are always an issue in workers’ compensation because often times the insurance company has delayed approving surgery and permanent nerve damage can occur if a problem is not addressed quickly.

But an equally serious complication from surgery can create even more issues. Sometimes, despite the best efforts by the surgeon and your attempts to keep your wound clean, an infection can develop at the surgical site.

Infections are very serious because they can spread quickly and, in some cases, turn septic. In such a situation you are at risk of losing skin, muscle or bone, and if not treated quickly, you could lose your life.

I have long advised my workers’ compensation clients that with all medical care – not just workers’ compensation care – you must be your own advocate and listen to your body.

If you see swelling, redness, or a discharge, if you develop a fever, or if your pain level spikes you must seek immediate care. If you cannot reach your surgeon, go to an emergency room. Infections in surgical sites should never be ignored.

I have had some clients express concern about how they will be able to pay for infection treatment. Rest assured that if you were approved for surgery under workers’ compensation, any post surgical infection is also covered. Should the insurance company take a different position on this issue, we will insist that they cover post surgical care and take the matter to a workers’ compensation judge if need be.

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