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Common Ailments Affecting Seamen and other Offshore Workers


The following is a guest blog post from the Texas Maritime Lawyers of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. regarding common ailments and injuries affecting injured seamen and other offshore workers.

Over the past five years, maritime workers have experienced an uptick in cardiovascular diseases and infectious diseases such as MRSA, Hepatitis and even Leprosy. Despite our technological advances as a society providing access to more health information, healthy practices can be harder to come by. Sometimes, in an offshore setting, this can be because adequate medical care is not immediately available. Additionally, work at sea is extremely physically demanding.

Our maritime lawyers get a notable amount of calls from seamen and offshore contractors who contracted MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) while working on a vessel. MRSA is becoming extremely common in offshore rigs. Prevention and quick response are essential because infections spread quickly in closely confined spaces like a vessel’s living quarters. Many workers are contracting staph infections, particularly MRSA while in the service of vessels, including offshore drilling rigs, as a consequence of negligence of their employers and the unseaworthiness of the vessel upon which they serve.

Some physicians familiar with maritime worker health issues feel that specialized clinics need to be developed worldwide to handle maritime medicine. Clinics like these would provide better pre-employment physicals, could recommend fitness and lifestyle tips for an offshore setting, and keep an interconnected database of all seamen.

Health Tips for Seamen:

  • Do not withhold important medical information from your treating physicians
  • Comply with medical advice
  • Maintain relationships with friends and family while at sea to reduce depression
  • Take your prescribed medications
  • Make sure your first aid training is up-to-date before shipping out

Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. was founded in 1964, and represents maritime workers throughout Texas and Louisiana, and around the world. Our maritime accident lawyers have over 45 years of experience handling claims under the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and general maritime law.

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