Cystic fibrosis – CF disease – is a life-threatening, genetic disorder. The disease attacks the respiratory system, causing bodily secretions such as sweat, digestive juices, mucus, and saliva, to become thick and sticky – mainly in the lungs and pancreas. As a result, these organs become inflamed, clogged and blocked, causing a multitude of problems throughout the body. The airways to the lungs become obstructed, causing extreme breathing difficulties, and obstruction of the pancreas leads to digestive disorders.
Cystic fibrosis shortens the life span of those affected. Half a century ago, the life expectancy of anyone afflicted with CF disease was short, with most children not living long enough to attend school. With medical advancements in treatments and diagnosis, today, many individuals with CF live to adulthood, with a better quality of life that encompasses marriage and careers.
Cystic fibrosis is a disease that is widely recognized as a disabling condition. When adults with CF who work to provide for themselves and their families become unemployable due to their condition, disability benefits to which they are entitled are essential to their welfare and the welfare of their families. We will ensure your cystic fibrosis disability claims have been thoroughly analyzed, so we can fight for your claim to this disease.
Lung Problems in Cystic Fibrosis
The lung problem in cystic fibrosis results from thick, dry bronchial mucus that cannot be adequately cleared from the airways. The excess mucus leads to coughing and sputum production sometimes with coughing up of blood (hemoptysis). Pneumonia and other lung infections are also a frequent problem. Chronic lung infections can lead to chronic obstructive lung disease.
The thick mucus needs to be removed from the lungs with frequent pulmonary hygiene, consisting of postural drainage and chest percussion. This is done by clapping with cupped hands on the front and back of the chest while the person lies with his or her head over the edge of a bed so that gravity helps clear the secretions. Mechanical devices may also be used for chest percussion.
Medications to thin mucous secretions (mucolytics) and bronchodilators to improve air flow are typical components of treatment. Additionally, an inhaled enzyme can help break down cellular material accumulating in the bronchi. About 80% of cystic fibrosis patients die from lung disease, mostly related to infection.
Digestive Problems in Cystic Fibrosis
Thickened secretions can block digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas. About 90% of cystic fibrosis patients have some degree of this problem. They must take pancreatic enzymes to digest food. Additionally, vitamin supplements are needed.
Thick, dry intestinal secretions can cause intestinal obstruction that requires surgery to clear. Stool softeners may help; enemas and intestinal lavage (rinsing) may be needed. Exercise is always important, to the extent that the patient can do so.
Other Problems Associated With Cystic Fibrosis
All cystic fibrosis problems are not necessarily pulmonary or digestive. Other problems can be associated with cystic fibrosis, including undescended testicles, diabetes mellitus, inguinal hernias, sinusitis, heart failure, and fibrosis of bile ducts (biliary cirrhosis).
Claiming Cystic Fibrosis Disability on a Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance Policy
The battle with insurance companies is a never ending one. Initial claims are frequently denied for respiratory impairments such as cystic fibrosis, and many other medical conditions. Insurance companies often take advantage of an unrepresented claimant – and the claim will be denied, delayed, or terminated.
Our attorneys routinely represent claims under individual insurance contracts and under ERISA qualified employee benefit plans. Unlike claims for Social Security disability – where the examiner does not stand to lose money – with an LTD insurance policy, the person deciding your claim represents the insurance company. Whenever the insurer pays on a claim, it is a “loss.”
When an insurance company reviews an application, it is common practice to look for anything in that person’s medical history as a reason to deny coverage. The most common reason for benefits denial for cystic fibrosis disability is because of a preexisting condition. Or, the insurance company may at first award benefits only to retract them later.
Contact Us Today
Our attorneys are aware of the tactics insurance companies use to deny coverage or otherwise act in bad faith. If you have been denied insurance coverage, Mehr, Fairbanks & Peterson wants you to know you can take legal action. Please give us a call today toll-free at 800-249-3731.