BOSTON — The state of Massachusetts has repeatedly denied accidental death benefits to an officer's widow, saying they can't prove he died in the line of duty.
Fallen officer Kenneth Shaw worked in the identification unit at the Boston Police Department, according to My Fox Boston. Shaw contracted hepatitis C and died from the disease 13 years ago after his body rejected a liver transplant, and widow Maura Shaw — plus two doctors — believe the disease was transmitted while Shaw worked a crime scene.
"His only risk factors were exposure to blood as a policeman at work," one doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said. "In particular, there was no history of intravenous drug use or blood product transfusion."
In 2001 The Boston Retirement Board signed off on Maura Shaw's application for benefits, but the state would not approve it, adding financial strain to already emotionally drained Shaw.
"It's like a slap in the face. He loved his job. He loved doing what he did," Maura Shaw said. At one point, Shaw lost her house and pawned a diamond ring that was a gift from her husband, she said.
Shaw plans to ask a lawmaker to file a bill on her behalf in order to collect the benefits, she said, and police support her continued fight.
"The Boston Police Department is saddened to hear about the struggles Mrs. Shaw has faced in the wake of losing her husband," a Boston Police Department statement reads. "Officer Kenneth Shaw is fondly remembered as a hard worker and valuable member of our department. We fully support Mrs. Shaw in her efforts to secure the benefits to which we believe she is entitled."