01/14/2010

Va. cop with hepatitis C wants comp. law changed

Lt. Kurt Beach contracted hepatitis C after giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dying infant

Daily Press

ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. — This time last year, Smithfield police Lt. Kurt Beach was fighting for his life.

Now Beach — who received a lifesaving liver transplant last April — is fighting to change the workers' compensation law that restricts the time workers have to file claims for certain illnesses contracted in the line of duty.

Beach's health problems were intensified with red tape, created by a state law that requires workers' compensation claims to be filed within five years of the worker's exposure to the disease. Now he is working to make sure no first responder — including police officers, firefighters or paramedics — dealing with a medical problem contracted through work is trapped in the same insurance maze.

This law needs to be rewritten with the statue of limitations removed," said Beach. "I have difficulty believing they want to keep that old law on the books. It's almost like keeping a horse and buggy law on the books."

He plans to rally grass-roots support from other first responders to lobby their respective lawmakers to bring change to the current law.

Read full story: Smithfield officer Kurt Beach wants workers' compensation law changed

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