Contributed by Quatrini Rafferty Attorneys at Law
I have been representing injured firefighters and policemen for 43 years. Our office recently won a critical Workers' Compensation case for a widow of a firefighter who died from a heart attack. The insurance company fiercely defended the claim, alleging that there is a "one hour" rule between the time of the firefighting activity and the heart attack.
Dr. Stefanos Kales, of Harvard University, was our expert medical witness. Dr. Kales has conducted wide scale studies to assess the causal connection between firefighting activities and heart attacks. After comprehensive review of the facts in our case, he issued a report, with scientific data, incorporating the results of the firefighter studies. This study persuasively demonstrated that there are multiple critical factors to be examined when a firefighter suffers a heart attack, such as: carbon dioxide in the blood, air temperature, dehydration, and physical exertion measured in METs (Metabolic Equivalent Task). Dr. Kales confirmed that the "one hour" theory has long been discarded as invalid.
Here are some basic recommendations from Dr. Kales for all firefighters and police officers:
There are also several legal takeaways from this story:
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