Sunday, March 29, 2009
Palm Desert, CA
A local cat is in the middle of a battle with the State of California Workers’ Compensation Department over a claim for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Mulligan, a 5-year-old Domestic Long Hair cat originally from Sequim, Washington, moved to Indio with his wife to live in a Del Webb Sun City resort community.
“I took a desk job at a suicide hotline in La Quinta,” said Mulligan, “Everyone here is so happy that no one ever calls, so we have a lot of down time.” Mulligan and others spent their free time surfing the internet and sending text messages to friends and family.
Mulligan moved to the desert for the resort-like atmosphere
Mulligan lives in a Del Webb golf and swimming resort community
“After six months of it, my fingers and wrists hurt so badly, and my thumbs were killing me.” Mulligan stated.
After a failed trial of anti-inflammatory medications and narcotic pain relievers, doctors diagnosed him with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, a work-related injury from his rampant on-the-job computer use.
Mulligan filed a claim with Workers’ Compensation Services and continued seeing the doctor and planned for surgery on his right wrist first.
Riley became depressed, said it hurts to “…scratch shit up.”
“They sent me a letter denying my claim.” Said Mulligan, “They said that you have to have five fingers on your hand to qualify as having carpal tunnel injury. I don’t know what to do man. It really hurts when I scratch shit up. I am getting pretty depressed.”
Like most other cats, Mulligan has only four digits, or paw pads, but suffers the exact symptoms and problems shared by humans who use computers on a daily basis in their line of work.
“Look, the rules are very strict,” said California State L&I Case Manager Riley, a 14-year-old, neutered, Scottish Fold. “It is the same for panda bears, they too are exempt from filing claims for carpal tunnel-related issues. These are the laws of the state and are made public for anyone to read at any time. It is not a personal thing.”
Riley said "...it isn't personal."
Mulligan had to quit his job at the hotline and is looking for work somewhere where he doesn’t need to use his hands. “I filled out an application to be a donut maker the other day,” he said, “but I think even that requires the use of hands.”
Attorneys at the firm of Stern and Tabby, LLP, have picked up the case on a pro-bono basis and are planning to take it all the way to the State Supreme Court if necessary.
“This is digit-based discrimination, plain and simple.” A spokescat for the firm said in a public statement to the Gazette, “It is a shame that folks like the unemployed Octomom-woman can get seemingly unending financial assistance from the state without working and yet here is a hard-working cat with a real claim who can’t get help. He is fast growing depressed himself because of the pain and we are going to help him.”
Copyright Sharyn Thoma-Guay
Posted by The Kitty City Gazette at 6:23 PM