Injured firefighter battles insurance giant Allianz to foot bill for chronic pain treatment
The 2016 incident has left career firefighter Rob Boost in chronic pain. (Facebook: Rob Boost)
A Tasmanian firefighter injured by a falling branch while fighting a bushfire in 2016 has had his insurer refuse to cover some of the costs for his ongoing treatment, the firefighters’ union says.
Rob Boost was fighting a wildfire in Tasmania’s South-West World Heritage Area when a branch came down on his head.
He sustained a serious injury and was in hospital for several months.
The Tasmania’s United Firefighter’s Union (TUFU) said he now battles chronic pain and needs expensive treatment.
“Although wearing a helmet at the time of his accident, Rob has been left with a brain injury resulting in long-lasting and debilitating symptoms,” union vice-president Leigh Hills said in a statement.
Mr Boost has endured “insufferable migraines and ongoing chronic pain for the past 18 months or so since he’s been released from hospital,” Mr Hills said.
The union has alleged Allianz, the insurer for the Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS), has refused to fund part of Mr Boost’s ongoing treatment, which has been recommended by his medical team.
Rob Boost, pictured with his daughter, is still in and out of hospital managing his injuries. (Supplied: Facebook)
“His ketamine infusions that he’s been having, the insurer Allianz, have advised that they will no longer pay for those treatments,” Mr Hills said.
The treatments cost $3,000 a day and run for eight to 10 days, meaning the course costs up to $24,000.
Mr Boost receives the treatments every three or four months and has been allowed to return to work “a couple of days a week”, while not performing full operational duties, the TUFU said.
Allianz confirmed it is the insurer but did not respond to claims it had declined to continue funding the ketamine infusions.
“Compensation payments continue to be made and the claim is being handled in accordance with the Tasmanian Workers’ Compensation legislation,” an Allianz spokesperson said in a statement.
The TUFU has started a crowdfunding campaign to assist Mr Boost, a father of two, pay for the treatments while the case for the infusions to be continued is dealt with in the Workers’ Compensation Tribunal.
In a statement, the TFS said it was working with his family and supporters “seeking the best outcome for him”.
“We are working with the United Firefighters Union and Robert’s family to provide appropriate welfare support to him, while managing the worker’s compensation claim within the parameters of the legislation,” the statement said.
Mr Boost has been contacted for comment.