Dependents of Latex Allergic Hospital Worker Awarded Workers' Compensation Benefits

 Janeth McFarlane worked at the Baptist Hospital in Florida for approximately two years prior to November 1, 1996. She had used latex powdered gloves. Her employer had ordered, but had not received, powder-less gloves. During her employment she did experience some respiratory difficulty but was unaware of the cause. On November 1, 1996, immediately after using latex powdered gloves, she went into respiratory failure. Her co-workers attempted to revive her but were unsuccessful. 

Relying upon the uncontradicted testimony of an independent medical examiner designated by the claimant, the court, concluded that it was within reasonable medical certainty that the decedents exposure at work was the major contributing cause of her death. The doctor relied upon the fact that the decedent had been sensitized to latex because of her employment and concluded that her latex allergy resulted in a sudden respiratory shut down and ultimate demise. The court awarded dependency benefits to three minor children of the decedent and assessed a 20% penalty on the accrued benefits as well as interest at the 12% statutory rate. 

McFarlane vs. Dade Correctional Institute/State of Florida Department of Corrections, Claim # 360-84-2917 (Department of Labor and Employment Security), decided February 15, 2000.

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1 The author, Jon L. Gelman, who practices in Wayne, NJ , wrote Workers' Compensation Law, 3rd Ed. (West Group). He can be reached electronically at: jon@gelmans.com. Internet: www.gelmans.com; Wayne, NJ 07470, Tel: (973) 696-7900; Fax: (973) 696-7988. COPYRIGHT ©2000 Jon L. Gelman

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