For as long as the disease has existed, black lung has compromised the respiratory system of hard-working individuals in the coal industry. Over the past year, where a pandemic ravaged the economy and ended lives, certain pre-existing conditions were cited as problematic. When the ability to breathe is a challenge, contracting the coronavirus makes an already dire situation much worse.
A deadly combination
COVID-19 is also classified as a respiratory virus. Over the past year, healthy people have fallen ill and died. Those who recovered are dealing with the long-term, potentially permanent effects as well. Combine the dreaded diagnosis with existing black lung disease that also takes away lung functions, and coal miners compose a significantly vulnerable segment in contracting the coronavirus.
Many see black lung as a death sentence due to the permanent and irreversible scarring that is often the result of years of breathing in coal dust in the confines of mines. The disease is considered a significant pre-existing condition that, with or without a worldwide pandemic, creates challenges in breathing for former coal miners. The diagnosis is life-changing. Those suffering from both lung-related illnesses must take strict precautions to protect not just their well-being but also their lives.
Medical clinics suspended black lung testing for a while, a vital first step in diagnosing the disease. Before the pandemic, the time between diagnosis and receiving benefits was several years. Many patients were forced to put money upfront with the hopes of being compensated to cover the significant expenses associated with treatments.
Countless miners have witnessed their careers coming to a sudden end following a black lung diagnosis. Many more will follow, with some likely to contract coronavirus. Victims need to know that they are not alone, and help from a skilled attorney with specific knowledge in this area of personal injury law is only a phone call away.