The state association that handles workers’ compensation claims for cities is appealing a decision last month to award benefits to a cancer-stricken Bedford firefighter.
Lt. Keith Long, who has stage 4 colon cancer, has fought the city and the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool for lost wages for two years, saying his illness was caused by on-the-job exposure to carcinogens. The risk pool argues that colon cancer is not among the cancers identified by a leading agency as being caused by firefighting.
A hearing officer sided with Long in late September, but the risk pool had 15 days to appeal to a Texas Department of Insurance panel. Carol Loughlin, executive director of the risk pool, said in a statement this week that the administrative law judge’s decision “is contrary to the guidelines set forth in state law” and that Long’s medical bills “have been covered and they will continue to be covered.” Long’s attorney, Kay Goggin of Dallas, said in an email Thursday that she couldn’t comment and that her client didn’t want to be interviewed. She told the Star-Telegram after the decision in late September that the judge ruled that Long suffered an occupational disease in the course and scope of his employment.