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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Workers' comp case traps Alabama nurse in Bakersfield for 3 years

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Althea Hart and her husband, John Hart Sr. make their way to the conference room at the law offices of Leviton, Diaz, and Ginochio to meet with her attorney and a reporter.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Althea Hart points to her right eye, which she says is partially blind from a fall while working at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital in 2011. She sustained other injuries as well and is still fighting for care.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Keith Gilmetti, attorney for Althea Hart.

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BY COURTENAY EDELHART The Bakersfield Californian

Alabama nurse Althea Hart didn't anticipate she'd still be in Bakersfield three years after agreeing to work here in 2011 under a 13-week contract with optional renewals.

In that time five of her relatives have died, her husband has had a heart attack and three of her five grandchildren have been growing up without their MawMaw.

Hart, 62, is, for all intents and purposes, trapped.

She's stuck because of a pending workers' compensation claim related to a 2011 fall on the job while working for Fastaff US Nursing, which supplies temporary nurses to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, among others.

Doctors in her native Loxley, Ala., wary of red tape and low reimbursement rates, won't take a California workers' compensation case. So Hart is forced to see local doctors in...

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