On-the-job injuries are all too common, particularly in inherently dangerous occupations such as commercial fishing. The plaintiff in the recent case of Ramirez v. Carolina Dream, Inc., was a crew member on a commercial fishing vessel. He had been employed as such for about eight years when, in late 2008, rough seas caused him to strike his jaw against his bunk and cut the inside of his mouth. According to the plaintiff, he suffered dizziness the following day and became weak and nauseous a few days later. The ship’s captain refused the plaintiff’s request to be brought ashore.
The plaintiff’s condition continued to worsen during the remainder of the trip. When the vessel finally returned to its home port, the plaintiff’s wife drove him directly to the emergency room. He stayed in the hospital for a month. After being home for a week, he was again hospitalized due to continuing symptoms.
His diagnosis was aplastic anemia, a rare condition that happens when the body stops producing sufficient blood cells. The exact cause of the plaintiff’s disease could not be determined, but one of his treating physicians opined that the plaintiff’s history of hepatitis C could be the culprit. Prior to the trip on which he became ill, the plaintiff had no symptoms and performed his duties well. Continue Reading ›