unfit for work

I am a 56 years old, offshore worker working as Elect'l and Inst. Technician in oil and gas installation with a symptomatic slow heart rate which will go down to 25BPM. Usually my working environment are mostly in switchgear room with 35KV power supply, welding environment, Unterruptible power supply and oil and gas platform. Two weeks after my PM implantation ( MEDTRONIC, MODEL ENSURA DR MRI SURE SCAN, MRI COMPATIBLE. I undergo for my company required annual medical check up here in PHILIPPINES and due to my PM I requiered a Cardiologist clearance but I was deaclared unfit to work again. For this reason I informed my Company for the status of my medical exam but until now I am still awaiting a response from our Company Doctor for their final decision. At present I am really worried because of what happen to me. At first I was not aware with the Pro's and Con's of having a PM and when my Doctor told me that I required a PM I directly say YES and now I was really worried of the outcome. I appreciate if anybody can provide info how I can assure to my company that I am safe to resume for work again and any possibility that I can work again as Electrical and Instrument Tech in oil and gas facilities?

Thanks in advance for all the comments


4 Comments

Unfit doctor?

by AgentX86 - 2018-06-23 22:21:58

Did the company cardiologist list why you were "unfit"?  Is it a rule that PMs a disqualification, something unique to your medical situation, or a temporary thing?  Two weeks isn't a lot of time for the wound to heal and for your heart to get "used to" being paced (and verse visa).  If it's a policy issue, it's probably going to be difficult to get it overturned.  If it's because of your medical situation, you may have to get your own cardiologist (you should be talking to an EP rather than a plumber) to counter theirs.  If it's temporary, well, time heals.  It may not help you eat now but you will get better.

On the other hand, if you didn't get the PM, you probably wouldn't be around long.  A 25bpm heart rate is really dangerous.  You were probably a danger on the job at that, too.  You made the only choice you could have. 

Hi

by Bionic Beat - 2018-06-23 22:28:45

With a heart rate of 25, you didnt have choices, you did the right thing for your life.

Now, have the company explain why you are unfit, is it permanent and ask to see an electrophysiologist.  Maybe get a second opinion but with a copy of company policy in your hand.

 

I hope you can get back to work but if not, I wish you well with something that is safe for you.

 

Best Wishes,

 

Bionic Beat

They tell me take it easy for 6 weeksi

by tedd - 2018-06-23 23:01:41

i had my pacemaker installed 5 weeks ago.

doctors orders: no exercise for 6 weeks. No raising your arm over your head till then.

Ok to drive, but told me to take it slow.

i was back to work in 3 days, but the operation caused me to be somewhat tired.

My co-workers chased me out of the building for the first few weeks saying, " that's enough work for you today, go home and rest up and get your strength back- which  I did; I was really tired at first.

Now five weeks later, I can stay at work mostly all day. If they say you are unfit to work, you might ask the doctor when you can return. He might have some precautionary rule that he may be interpreting to fit your situation 

Regardless, ask the doctor when you can return to work and take advantage of being able to rest up.

Think about it: When did you had the chance to watch " The Price Is Right" in the middle of the morning during the last 30 years! Rest up, and get your strength back.Now I am feelling better every day. I know the rest helped me.

Just take it easy- don't rush. Best wishes for a speedy recovery! I bet you'll be fine in no time!

 

 

Possible risk to you

by LondonAndy - 2018-06-24 01:20:57

Firstly I agree with other comments - you made the right choice (and the only choice) in getting the pacemaker, and need to give yourself a little time (ideally 6 weeks) to recover fully.

I am not an expert, but a possible reason you may be considered unfit for that particular job is if you are dealing with high voltage transformers and/or large electric motors, as these have high magnetic fields which may interfere with your device.  However, modern pacemakers are highly shielded, and these risks are therefore much reduced, particularly if your device is "MRI conditioned" which seems likely to be the case given it is a current generation Medtronic, but you haven't said what model.  You can read up more by Googling for something like "Pacemaker magnetic field limits", and here's one result: https://www.pacemakerclub.com/message/334/proper-gauss-measurement-devices 

 It is possible to get meters to read the level of magnetic field (for example, search for "Gauss meter" on Amazon and you will find meters from US$30 to US$300) if you or your employer want to measure the level of EMI you might encounter in your job.

I would not be surprised if some companies are behind in their knowledge of pacemaker shielding - even among medical professionals it can be an issue.  For example, my local hospital refused to carry out an MRI scan because of my pacemaker, and I had to go to a major cardiac centre to have it done.  So if you want to keep working in a high voltage electrical environment you may need to argue your case strongly and provide evidence.  Obviously there are still limits to the interference that can be protected from, and it may not be possible to carry on in that role.

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