Tracking reports from all over the country as well as internationally, it is reprehensible that Florida, the number three state in the US for veterans has this record. Why? Because law enforcement and firefighting are the top jobs veterans seek after risking their lives in the military. You'd think they would matter enough to be able to depend on us to stand up for them.
Florida Denies Pulse First Responder Workman's Comp for PTSD
Gerry Realin helped pull 49 bodies out of the club on June 12. That night has haunted him and made him unable to work. BY Officer Gerry Realin, one of the first responders on the scene following the Pulse nightclub shooting in June, is fighting the state of Florida to have his post-traumatic stress disorder recognized as workman’s compensation, as current policy doesn’t cover psychological trauma.
After a lone gunman opened fire on the Orlando gay bar on June 12, killing 49 people, Realin helped remove bodies from the club.
“When he got home, 2:30 the next morning, he came in very quiet… looked at both of our kids, then went in the shower and just lost it,” his wife, Jessica, told Orlando TV station, WFTV. “And he didn't stop crying. The next day, it was on and off. And it's just been really hard.”
Orlando Police Officer may lose everything after Pulse terror attack. He has PTSD from it. Is this how we treat those who risk their lives when the survivors are trying to heal from it too?
Does the Police Department understand how vital it is to have an officer talk publicly about having PTSD? It comes with the job! It comes with the job of anyone risking their lives. Firefighters and EMTs get hit by it from their jobs. National Guardsmen and Reservists get it from their jobs. Military members get it from their jobs. It seems everyone is more accepting of civilians getting it from surviving the day the event happened to them than those who serve risk their lives responding to them all the time.
'I still see all the red,' officer who removed bodies from Pulse says
August 13, 2016
Clark estimated there are 100,000 officers nationwide with PTSD, but the law-enforcement industry has been slow to react to officers' needs. They also have a higher rate of suicide.Sometimes the smell comes back to Officer Gerry Realin. He can't describe it, but he knows it when it hits him.
It's the smell of death.
For four hours, Realin and the seven other members of the Orlando Police Department's hazmat team were tasked with removing all the bodies from Pulse nightclub. As a result, he said he has been diagnosed with PTSD.
"There was just that smell that saturated my whole body," he said while holding his wife Jessica's hand. "My hair, my skin, my whole respiratory system."
Two months after the massacre that killed 49 people and injured more than 50 others, Realin said he still sees "all the red."
Now, Realin's attorney Geoffrey Bichler wants to use the case to challenge the constitutionality of the state's workers' compensation law, which will pay for physical injuries but not psychological ones.
"It is a travesty that there's no legal protection for a guy like Gerry," Bichler said. "The law needs to protect them. As a society, we owe it to them."
Only five states pay workers' comp because of psychological issues suffered on the job, said Ron Clark, who runs the Connecticut-based group Badge of Life, which studies post-traumatic stress disorder in law enforcement. read more here