Heart attack and FMLA

Discussion in 'Trucking Industry Regulations' started by omaharj, Oct 4, 2021.

  1. omaharj

    omaharj Bobtail Member

    Jun 18, 2008
    Had heart attack, two stents put in. Cardiologist said I was good to go back to work. DOT says at least 2 months and need med recert with stress test. Work sent me FMLA paperwork.
    Anybody know how to follow the steps here? I can work, but not drive. Work wants me to take FMLA but FMLA says it's for people who can't work. WTF.
    Anybody else go through this?
    NavigatorWife Thanks this.
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  3. cke

    cke Road Train Member

    Aug 4, 2013
    Colfax Wi
    Yes I did. And still am. Had mine about 4 years ago. Couldn’t start rehab until 30 days after surgery. 36 sessions required. Limited to 3 times per week. After about 3 months a stress test is required. Obviously you must pass. Swear to God they’ll try and kill ya, but you’re already in the hospital, so the nurses are already there !! Lol. As long as you’re on heart meds, you’ll need a physical every year. You’ll also need a stress test every 2 years. That’s what I know in a nut shell. Any more questions, ask. I’ll answer to the best of my ability.
  4. brian991219

    brian991219 Road Train Member

    Aug 10, 2013
    Lords Valley, PA
    Nothing wrong with your company's request. Yes, you are cleared for "work", however (presumably) your current job requires you to be a qualified CDL driver, which you are not until you can complete the medical recertification. In most cases your company has the option, but not the requirement, to provide light duty or limited duty work that doesn't require you to drive or they can simply have you take leave until you are again qualified to drive. Unfortunately a heart attack does not automatically qualify you for SSA disability so you must first use all your paid time off and FMLA time. Then, sadly, if you still are out of work you may have to wait until at least 12 months have passed before collecting disability income.

    Now, if you are a union driver there may be protections or requirements for limited duty in your labor agreement, or if the heart attack happened on the job you may have a workers compensation claim for wages and treatment. Also, should the company terminate you there may be an unemployment entitlement depending on the exact circumstances and state laws.
  5. Capacity

    Capacity Road Train Member

    Jul 28, 2019
    Neenah Wi
    I have a friend that received 4 stents , he went thru rehab with shining colors.
    After rehab he tryed to drive OTR and Local but didnt want to take a chance and have another Stemi and maybe kill someone and he hung it up after 20 years.
    Said it was always in the back of his mind and couldn't deal with it.
    He learned how to bake and works in a bakery now.
    Good Luck stay well.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
  6. wis bang

    wis bang Road Train Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Levittown, PA
    I've seen a number of owner operators who, post-bypass, came back to CDL including a few who regained their pilot's licenses [one an instructor] so there is hope though the bypass is considered a lot different than a stent insertion or tow.
    NavigatorWife and cke Thank this.
  7. omaharj

    omaharj Bobtail Member

    Jun 18, 2008
    Just a followup-
    Went back to work last week. My company uses Concentra so ymmv.
    I needed a stress test (results to Concentra) prior to recertification. I had minimal/no damage to my heart and risk for new heart attack is low.
    I'm on 3 meds for Blood pressure/cholesteral/blood thinners in addition to low dose aspirin. I keep 2 days worth with me in my gear even though I'm home daily. At least once a year I end up stranded somewhere overnight. I keep these in prescription botttles. FMCSA says all drugs must be in a prescription bottle, those seven day pill holders aren't legal. I know, stupid!
    My company required a new drug test because I was off 2 months. I called a month out to make sure I had everything covered and wasn't informed about this until I was trying to set up my schedule. Had to go back to Concentra. Thanks HR, (they blamed it on Safety Dept.).
    I went to Cardiac rehab 3 times a week until I was sure I was cleared to go back to work. I thought it may be a hoop I was required to go through to get recertified. Turns out it didn't matter. Rehab was a very positive experience and helped get my confidence up
    My advice to someone going through this-
    Don't let it add to your stress. Tomorrow will happen whether you worry or not.
    Communicate with HR. Mine said they will pay my portion of Medical and take it out later on. Not a big deal, but I took advantage of it. HR can be a confusing mess. Many people say things that are simply not true or don't apply to your situation. Same for Concentra. At Concentra, the first time I went to see what steps I had to take, the woman behind the desk told me at least 3 months before recertification. If I had believed her I wouldn't be working today. My cert is for 1 year.
    Different health issues may result in different scenarios. I hope yours will have a peaceful outcome..
  8. MacLean

    MacLean Medium Load Member

    Sep 12, 2017
    Good luck. I took a stress test a month ago with no pre existing symptoms for a job they said everyone over 40 needed to have. It was bad. I passed but I hope to never do that again.
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