OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES AND THE PHYSICIAN


Despite the fact that the Department of Labor through the Bureau of Industrial Hygiene has for a number of years by means of letters and circulars, endeavored to draw the attention of the- medical profession of this state to the Law, as well as to the facilities of the Bureau which are always available, the response has been disappointing, although it is slowly improving.


Many physicians in general practise are adverse to treating ailments that may develop into compensation cases.

The reason for such aversions is probably due to the fact that at some time a patient has come under their care with an occupational disease, and then after long treatment, when the time came for remuneration, if was found that the case was not one within the meaning of the act, or not a result of the employment.

Experience gained from over one years observation of the occupational disease calendar in New York City shows that only a very small number of diseases are compensable under the act, and 5 per cent, would be a very generous estimate. It was also demonstrated that of the claims presented only about 40 per cent. were allowed.

There are many reasons for this existing, condition, among them on the part of the physician are lack of knowledge of the Compensation Law, need of knowledge concerning the various types of industry, and of the harmful action of the many substances used in the processes of manufacture, also in some cases unfamiliarity with occupational disease, their etiology, symptoms and prognosis.

Much help could be given the patient and the referees, and disappointment avoided, especially for the physician if more time were given to even a cursory study of industrial hygiene.

One feature stands out prominently and that is the failure on the part of physicians to comply with Section 206 of the Labor Law which provides : Physicians reports of industrial poisonings. 1. Every physician attending any person whom he believes to be suffering from poisoning by lead, phosphorus, arsenic, brass, wood alcohol, mercury or its compounds, from anthrax, or compressed air illness, contracted as the result of the nature of such persons employment, shall send to the commissioner a report stating the name and address and place of employment of such person, and the disease from which he is suffering, with such further information as may be required by the commissioner.

Despite the fact that the Department of Labor through the Bureau of Industrial Hygiene has for a number of years by means of letters and circulars, endeavored to draw the attention of the- medical profession of this state to the Law, as well as to the facilities of the Bureau which are always available, the response has been disappointing, although it is slowly improving.

To further assist the physicians, the Ready Reference Manual of Industrial Diseases was published and sent to the medical profession throughout the State of New York. There is also published monthly, the Industrial Hygiene Bulletin, which contains information of value to those whose interests are in any away associated with the diseases or hygiene of occupation.

Where a physician is in doubt as to the etiological factor of an occupational disease, if he will report it to the Department, an investigation will be made, and the results placed at the disposal of the attending physician, who can confirm his disposal of the attending physician, who can confirm his diagnosis as well as institute proper treatment, and in addition be made aware as to whether or not it is a compensable disease.

The effect would be that in case a claim for compensation comes before a referee hearing an occupational disease calendar, the referee could upon the files of the Bureau of Industrial Hygiene for data.

Had the case been reported there would be on file a report of the attending physicians in reference to the case, as well as the data relating to the presence of the hazard. This would enable the referee to make a decision at once without having adjournments, and causing needless delay to the patient or others involved, also with the possibility of avoiding the appearance of the physician at the referee hearing, a proceeding which all busy practitioners dread, owing to the the lot in waiting, which is often unavoidable.

Undoubtedly many physicians feel that in filing a C-4, (the physicians report to the compensation Bureau) they have complied with the law. This is not so, for in many cases this form is filled our only after many months have elapsed following the date of illness. In many cases the form has been completed only after the claimant has come before a referee, and the referee has adjourned the case for the purpose of the filing of this form, and and often failure to file has worked an injustice to the injured workman.

It is obvious that were an occupational poisoning or disease reported at once as required by Section 206, or if possible that a C-4 (copy) completed at that time accepted as a compliance.

SUPPOSITORIES

medicated with fresh plant tinctures where possible combined with blended base of cocoa butter which will remain firm until bodily temperature is reached when they disintegrate and release the medication and the base acts as an emollient to mucous membrane.

C T Graham