Abels & Annes

Healthcare Workers May Be Harmed when Handling Cancer Drugs

102115.jpgMost jobs present some risks to those who work them, whether the risks stem from lifting heavy objects, operating in a construction zone, or even working with sick patients. If you are employed, odds are that your job could cause you to be harmed even if you do everything correctly and you follow every rule and protocol provided by your employer. When this happens, Illinois laws apply to give you the protection you need and to enable you to get the help you deserve through a workers’ compensation claim.

Workers’ compensation is a system of state-mandated insurance that must be carried by employers to provide coverage to injured workers, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. These workers deserve to get the medical treatment they need to get well in addition to obtaining payment for time missed from work and possibly a lump sum settlement, depending on the facts surrounding a case and what happened to that worker. When in doubt, speaking with a personal injury attorney can help you realize what options you may possess if you were hurt while working or if someone you love was injured or killed on-the-job.

Though all workers can be hurt, some are at a greater risk than others for suffering harm while employed. Among these high-risk employees are medical workers who handle or may come into contact with certain drugs designed to treat cancer. A common course of treatment for many cancers includes the use of chemotherapy, and with that, the use of antineoplastic agents. Antineoplastic agents are a form of medication that attacks cellular structure and individual cells, thereby attacking cancer at its source. These drugs can function in one of many ways but their job is always the same – to kill cells. When administered to someone suffering from cancer, antineoplastic agents can prevent cancerous cells from reproducing and multiplying, thereby stopping the growth of the tumor. The drugs can also destroy the existing cells within a cancerous mass which can help a patient become cancer-free.

But antineoplastic agents are very dangerous when they come into contact with the cells of someone who does not need them. Generally, antineoplastic agents kill cells, regardless of whether they are healthy or cancerous, and therefore healthcare workers who handle those drugs may be susceptible to harm from them.

If a healthcare worker comes into contact with antineoplastic agents, that worker may suffer from injuries including a rash or skin irritation, hair loss, liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, cardiac toxicity, infertility, miscarriage and/or stillbirth, birth defects, cancer, and even death.

It is important to realize that numerous workers may be affected by these issues. Nurses who help administer antineoplastic agents may be harmed but so may members of a surgical team who are working on patients receiving the drugs, custodial members of a hospital charged with cleaning up spills, workers in a receiving dock or shipping dock who handle product, employees of the companies that manufacture these drugs, and others.

If you suffered an injury while on-the-job in Chicago, or if you were exposed to antineoplastic agents and were harmed as a result, make sure you have the facts about your legal rights to relief. The legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. will be standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation about your options and to answer any questions you might have.

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we fight for the best possible outcome in every case we handle and we never charge our clients a fee unless we make a recovery on their behalf. If we can help you, call us now and speak with one of our licensed attorneys.

Prior Blog Entry:

Is Your Child Safe when Riding a School Bus?, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 20, 2015.

Resources:

Occupational Exposure To Antineoplastic Agents And Other Hazardous Drugs, NIOSH/CDC.

Hazardous Drug Exposure In Healthcare, NIOSH/CDC.