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I am a 30 year old male and have been diagnosed with crohn's for over 16 years now and have always counted myself very lucky compared to most people who have the same condition as i do as i have not had to have any surgery at all.
What I would like to ask you is that if anyone with medical experience could it be possible that my disability suffering from severe fistulating crohn’s has been caused by a great deal of stress, extensive working hours (sometimes double shifting), frequently changing of work patterns (from day work to night work), being asked to continuously drive all over the country and then work a full shift on top of that drive, my serious lack of sleep due to work patterns constantly changing on top of stress and office members always ringing me up when I am supposed to be sleeping plus a bad diet consisting of service station and catering van foods. If an employer was fully aware of my disability/condition and continued to make me work in the conditions stated above could that have been a factor into the fistula growing on my small intestine.
To give you a brief history on my condition I was diagnosed with crohn’s disease in 2000 where it had become very clear that something was wrong with me as I was losing a stone a month and not being able to hold any food down, since then I in fact have terminal ileum crohn’s disease. I have been very lucky in the fact that I have been in remission and able to live a so called “normal” life with very few flare ups and treatment from hospitals. I have been able to do my GCSE exams, go travelling, go on holidays and work without hardly any incidents all the way through until I began to work for an employer in January 2014 and by May/June 2014 when after working extensive hours I became very ill at work and somehow managed to drive myself to my local A&E in Eastbourne. After spending a week in hospital and numerous amounts of x-ray’s and scans the consultants and surgeons decided that there was no need to operate as there were no signs of any fistulas on my small intestine and it was only flair-up that with a course of antibiotics should keep my condition manageable and hopefully back into remission. My company were then made full aware and even wrote to my GP to ask about my condition in which he replied that I was still ok to work but they had to take into consideration that I do have crohn’s and may require additional help from them from time to time.
In November 2015 after a lengthy period of continuously having to do what I mentioned earlier I was again admitted into hospital where this time I had now apparently developed a severe fistula onto my small intestine causing unbearable pain, having to in some cases be off work days at a time. The consultants/surgeons this time contemplated surgery but instead opted for me to start with infliximab through IV to see if they could get it under control and avoid surgery. Again my employer was made fully of everything that was happening and knew that the IV’s would normally take around 2 hours at my local hospital and I shouldn't really go back to work straight afterwards, this fell on deaf ears and my work load was getting greater. I then had to cancel a few appointments for my infliximab as my employer had send me away so it was physically impossible for me to make it.
My condition has since got worse and I am now where I am today awaiting surgery that I had hoped would never come because I had been lucky enough to have been in remission for 14 years leading up to May 2014.
As medical professionals who know more about crohn’s disease than I ever will, do you think that actions over the last 2 years taken by my employer at the time and the intensity in which they had asked me to carry out my job, knowing full well of my condition has in fact played part in the development of the fistula that is now on my small intestine and causing my disability to worsen.
Any insight would be grateful.
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