In the northern third of Ohio, where the winters are typically nasty and cold — Who am I kidding? It’s Ohio! The winters are cold and nasty everywhere! — young James H. finished high school at Indian Lake, started working at Glacier Daido Metal in Bellefontaine in 1996 at age 20, and married his sweetheart, Kris, a few months later. Daido is the world’s largest manufacturer of several types of bearings, including nearly a third of all automobile engine bearings and half of large ship bearings as of 2018.
James started through a temp agency as a general laborer and stacker. After a few short months, Daido hired him in-house as a machine operator and setup man. He inspected parts for quality control and used his computer training to run various machines. He ultimately became a team leader, supervising 3–4 employees.
At the ripe old age of 30, after production was completed on his shift, James looked for additional jobs that needed done. Finding a cabinet that needed painting, he bent over to put paint on the roller when he felt a pop and immediate pain in his left lower back and down his left leg. He crawled on all fours to a nearby chair and called his supervisor. He couldn’t get out of the chair and was taken to the nearby Mary Rutan emergency room. Two days later, a corporate health doctor ordered an immediate MRI and consulted with a neurosurgeon. The doctor determined that leakage of disc material into the spine inflamed James’ nerves. Rather than operate immediately on the disc herniation, two neurosurgeons recommended epidural steroid injections. James called us because we had helped Kris’ sister, Debbie, with an injury.
Over the next couple years, James had ongoing injections followed by an intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) procedure in late summer 2008. With IDET, doctors insert a catheter around the inside of the disc and heat it to about 194 degrees F to kill the nerve fibers and seal any small tears. Ultimately, this didn’t work. James had seven more back surgeries, including a lumbar fusion with an interbody cage, and ultimately a spinal cord stimulator implant. He tried rehab four times, hoping to return to some work, but to no avail.
You all know how hard injuries can be on a marriage. Some don’t make it. But Kris was with James every step of the way, through all the times their hopes were dashed when they thought a surgery might fix things and then realized it didn’t. During the seemingly endless doctor and therapy visits, the fights for treatment, and numerous hearings, Kris was always there too.
I have a full file drawer for James’ eight folders. His claim costs are nearly $700,000. Happily, by filing for and getting permanent total disability for James, he, Kris, and their family at least have the financial burden lifted as they continue their journey through life together.
Learn more about workplace back injuries.