Returning to work in a wheelchair

Thursday, March 28th, 2024

ATF Medical’s VP of Business Development Rick Wyche wrote this excellent piece for WorkCompWire, explaining how many workers who experience catastrophic injuries can recover and regain their places in the workforce.

As Rick points out, people can feel like a horrific accident is the end of the road, at least the end of their career.  And it used to be true for many.  But new medical treatment and other therapies, combined with new and vastly improved wheelchairs and other equipment, make returning to work in a wheelchair quite possible.  Read it here.


Case Study: The Deputy and His Standing Chair

Friday, September 8th, 2023

David Caimotto, a 40-year-old Sherriff’s Deputy, was badly injured in motorcycle accident, which caused him to become a T-2 paraplegic. Despite his serious injuries, he returned to work at the Sheriff’s Department in a desk job, which involved working on files and in-person discussions with clients and attorneys.

The deputy used a K0005 Ultra lightweight manual wheelchair, and although he also received a standing frame, the office layout prevented its consistent use. As a result, co-workers had to pull files for him, and at one point the Sherriff’s office hired an assistant for him.

This arrangement continued for 16 years. Eventually propelling a manual chair took its toll, especially on his shoulders. ATF Medical was brought in to evaluate his condition and offer solutions.

We recommended a power chair due to the deputy’s on-going shoulder issues. We also added standing feature to enable him to reach files and interact with co-workers, clients, attorneys and the public at large at eye level.

The deputy could now perform tasks that were previously impossible. As his duties expanded, the Sherriff’s Department was able to re-assign his assistant.

Physical benefits of the standing function include a decrease in repetitive shoulder injuries and the functional benefit of standing, which increases bone density and improves bowel and bladder function.

Psychologically, being able to look people in the eye and engage in social activities brings a huge boost to a person’s mental health. “I did get the chance to take the chair to the Christmas Brian Setzer Orchestra show and stood for the first time at a concert in over 16 years,” Deputy Caimotto said. “It was amazing.”