Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Symphonic Trust

We've all heard about TED talks.

TED is the acronym for technology, entertainment and design. Engaging, short (about 12 minutes) talks that are published on the Internet (ted.com), there's at least one topic that you and I will find interesting.

One such talk was by symphony conductor Charles Hazlewood's about the role of trust between conductor and orchestra, which he describes as a "miracle."

It's a miracle that everything comes together to produce the sounds that move an audience.

In the old days, Hazlewood explains, the conductor was in a position of power, a dictator - but that has evolved with society, and music reflects that evolution.

"We now have a more democratic view and way of making music - a two-way street," Hazlewood says. "I, as the conductor, have to come to the rehearsal with a cast-iron sense of the outer architecture of that music, within which there is then immense personal freedom for the members of the orchestra to shine. There has to be, between me and orchestra, an unshakeable bond of trust, born out of mutual respect, through which we can spin a musical narrative that we all believe in."

Trust, it turns out, is at the heart of all relationships, no matter how they are defined.

I trust that the air traffic controller isn't going to steer me into another aircraft when I'm in the clouds. You trust that the person juxtaposed at the intersection from you is going to stop at the red light. We all trust that the person with whom we have a contract will perform his or her part of the bargain.

Trust is the glue that keeps humanity together, and a democratic freedom is the lubricant the keeps humanity moving.

Trust is what allows us to make assumptions that things will go right. That a dollar is worth a dollar, that a promise will be kept, that the Uber driver will pick us up and take us to where we want to go.

The archetype of trust is workers' compensation. The complex web of trust between so many different performers in the world of work comp is no different than Hazlewood's orchestra; we all have to have a deep trust in each other that each will do their part to keep the system together, and moving.

The employer trusts the insurance company with its money to protect it financially when a work place accident occurs. The insurance company trusts the broker that the details of the employer's risk are properly accounted for. Wall Street trusts the insurance company that its assets are real and can back the investments ordered. The injured worker trusts that the doctor is going to provide the best treatment possible for the injury. The doctor trusts that the insurance company is going to pay his or her bill. The insurance company trusts the injured worker isn't faking it, and is interested in getting better and back to work. The government trusts that everyone will play be the rules.

And so on.

"You know, it's not about power," says Hazlewood. "It's not about who's in charge. It's about me throwing out a gesture and trusting myself and, therefore, trusting that they will read that gesture and respond to it."

But when that trust ceases or erodes, contempt, ridicule and dysfunction take over.

I've written before that workers' compensation is a system built on mistrust. And I think Hazlewood hit the proverbial nail on the head: it's about "trusting myself" which allows trust in others.

When the conductor doesn't trust that the orchestra will follow the direction, he over-compensates, and over-gesticulates. And the orchestra over reacts, and eventually the entire performance is ridiculed.

As Hazlewood explains it: "Think about it - when you're in a position of not trusting, what do you do? You overcompensate. And in my game, that means you over-gesticulate. You end up like some kind of rabid windmill. And the bigger your gesture gets, the more ill-defined, blurry and, frankly, useless it is to the orchestra. You become a figure of fun. There's no trust anymore, only ridicule. And how futile seemed the words of advice to me from the great British veteran conductor Sir Colin Davis who said, 'conducting, Charles, is like holding a small bird in your hand. If you hold it too tightly, you crush it. If you hold it too loosely, it flies away.' I have to say, in those days, I couldn't really even find the bird."

That's what's happened in workers' compensation - we've gone so far beyond trust that we have overcompensated, we have become a "figure of fun," ridiculed in the press, criticized for our antics, looking ill-defined, blurry and useless to employers and their work forces.

Every time there's been a breach of trust we over compensate. We call this "reform" but in truth what really is occurring is that someone in a position of power says they don't trust some element of the workers' compensation system so laws and regulations are crafted, debated and eventually dictated in an attempt to micro-manage the orchestra.

And that never works out in the end. There are too many moving parts, too many contributors, too many different sounds trying to come together in a cacophony of disparate interests lacking sufficient trust in another.

How do we build trust back into workers' compensation? It won't happen by dictate or fiat. It won't happen by passing a "reform." It won't happen unless and until each and every one of us first trusts ourselves.

Do you, as an adjuster, trust yourself to make the right decision on a case? Do you, as an injured worker, trust yourself to overcome the burden of injury? Do you, as an employer, trust yourself to provide an environment safe for those injured at your business? Do you, as an attorney, trust yourself to look past the money and advise your client about what's right for him? Do you, as a doctor, trust yourself to perform the right procedure or prescribe the right treatment?

Do any of us trust ourselves to put the interests of the system first?

Lest you doubt that a conductor knows anything about impairments and disability, in 2012 Hazlewood founded The British Paraorchestra, the world's first large-scale professional ensemble of virtuoso musicians with disabilities.


  1. So how do I TRUST my DEMS and REPS when none of them want to be honest about workers comp or med tort laws in wa state? Sen. Padden, and many others on his side know patients are being harmed for profit and does not care.... and all my Dems know this is going on.... and a few are starting to hear me now.. and are seeing how this ALEC group all tied in to it.... are starting to come around but yet still NO TRUST for our leaders from either party in WA State when none will come out and tell us the truth about workers comp... we can thanks SEN. Maralyn Chase for being one of the first leaders in our STATE to get honest with us about ALEC..... she's on the correct tract...but all the others? TRUST? NO WAY and I will say the FEDS and OSHA they have really picked up the injured workers plight. But we still need all our leaders to get honest with us... exspecially Sen. Marko Liias of WA State... he's an awesome likeable guy, and he did an awesome job fighting for marriage equality for his minority class, but seems to sell labor and patients out to alec in state med tort and work comp laws with out even batting an eye? I try and call him out. And all my dem leaders get upset by it.... except a few whoes eye's seem to be opening up to the harm being done for profit in WA STATE.

    When I just had to put my father n law in the ground because the STATE of WA and its WC agents, aided the private insurer Sedgwick and the private company WAL Mart to intently try and fleece my father n law an immigrant who worked at wal mart for 15 years. out of covering his OJI and related angst or lit up pre existing conditions. THAT WA does cover by statute. To know the state and its agents and the state ombuds person all know this work was harmed in this mannor, intently tried to deny him his bargain with out a fight... we fought, they did pay to amputate his toe, but then did not want to give him a PPD award for the missing part.... and when all know this angst his all ready pre existing conditions all work as fast as they could to get him off comp, forcing a worker all know should have been told to go home and get his affairs in order, to go climb ladders at wal mart, and work full duty. Until he came home and sate down after his last shift and died.

    We did get the state to force the insurer to pay him the PPD awards, we got the check 2 days after the funeral that was a 15 thousand and the two just about covered that.... but had he not been cheated by our system intently so as private industry could profit? He would have made it back to his home he was working 25 years trying to get back too........ Had he not been cheated out of the PPD cash award HE would of made it back to his dream and everything he had been slaving for for 25 freaking years..... TRUST?

    When SEN Marko and and sen mike sells and sen patty murry and cantwell and PADDEN the repbulican ethics guy... all turn their back on ALEC made med tort and work comp laws ih our state..

    TRUST BROTHER TRUST WHO IM all out of trust. big brother.

  2. Comment 1 of 2:
    As an injured worker who has been the target of heinous crimes throughout my workers compensation claim, "trust" is not a word that I would use. Even my own attorneys have made inconsistent statements since I reported to them that I had been forced under anesthesia and maimed from my skull down to my tailbone by the Doctor that they chose for me through the insurance carrier's "network medical providers". I wasn't told until approximately 8 months after the workers comp claim was filed that my employer falsely informed the insurance carrier in writing via fax, "The employee said that it was not a work related injury so it was treated as first aid." That statement is a FLAT OUT LIE on the part my former employer. Why wasn’t I told?! Why wasn’t I warned that the WC system is corrupt and has a history of criminal activity? Documents have been falsified by my former employer, medical reports and surgery reports also falsified and too boot, and the AME had no problem leaving out of his report that I was brutally maimed. In fact, he made a statement about my complaints of increased pain being psychological, no doubt to protect the defense whom refers business to him. To me, it appears that all parties were willing to participate on whatever scale they were asked to in crimes against me, the injured worker.
    Since being the target of a barrage of crimes that include being maimed, battered, intrusions into my home, my food, water, ice-tea, mouthwash, PUR water filter - all tainted with different chemicals on separate occasions that would affect either my heart, nervous system, would dehydrate me, etc. At the same time, documents were stolen out of my home related to my medical history and the workers comp claim. I believe that my phone is still tapped. Still, I make attempts to get a new workers comp attorney. Within the last couple of months, someone who represented himself to be from one of the law offices that I called, called me back and because of the tone of voice and manner in which I was questioned, I gathered it was the defense firm. On another occasion, last year (2014) I received a call from a law office that that didn't take my case but explained to me the difference between settling with a C&R and getting $5,000.00 or leaving the WC claim open. My gut told me - this is the defense who has just contacted me.
    Today, I can't get legitimate healthcare. I am met with bizarre circumstances, or my medical file is documented with false information in it or states something that I object to. I have tried to get medical help through medi-cal Doctors – and I am told that what I described happened to me “just doesn’t happen”. Yet, applicant attorneys don’t deny that injured workers are maimed, etc. and one said in particular “Yea, that happens.” One medi-cal Doctor told me that I needed to see a psychiatrist because there was no occurrence of anyone in the USA reported having been forced under anesthesia. She – the medi-cal Doctor, would not refer me to an orthopedic doctor. I later found out, that her medical facility/corporation also handles industrial medicine / workers compensation and has a contact with the insurance carrier who is on my file. On another occasion, I was followed to a Doctor’s office and the WC insurance investigator (or perp, I call them) walked in and the Doctors staff cooperated with her. I recognized her immediately!! On that occasion I was asked if I did recreational drugs. Then the staff member asked me if I ever did recreational drugs. On another occasion, I was on the phone with a workers compensation medical provider's "Assistant". I told her what I had been going through and she said that they (the defense) will attack / destroy the injured workers credibility.

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  4. Continued - Comment 2 of 2:
    I've learned that the insurance carrier will contact the injured workers healthcare providers outside of workers compensation. They will attempt to interfere in an injured workers healthcare. In my case, it is paramount for them to do so since I have been prolifically maimed. They cannot allow me to get evidence of what they have done to my body, furthermore, they must protect their medical providers.

    I have gone to law enforcement for help and to file charges and have been turned away 6 times. I have contacted elected officials in Orange County and the O.C. District Attorney’s office at least 5 times, Governor Browns’ office several times in writing and via phone, I have gone to the media, I have made calls to Director Christine Baker of the DIR, I’ve written to the WCAB on many occasions – different offices, I’ve written to the Presiding Judge of WCAB Anaheim and have not received any response. At least Christine Baker wrote me back to say that she cannot help me and not to call her office again. I have contacted the National Center for Victims of Crimes , I briefly explained to them what I was enduring, they told me that I was the target of “group stalking” aka organized stalking. Group / organized stalking is a criminal campaign of crimes that are committed against someone to destroy their credibility and to reduce them emotionally and/or physically, to induce them to commit a crime out of frustration or despair, etc. It is an evil campaign to destroy an individual.
    Mr. DePaolo, I don’t trust anyone but I wish that I could. Not only can’t I get legitimate healthcare inside or outside of workers compensation but I am prevented from getting evidence of the damage done to my body which prevents me from qualifying for SSDI. I have no income and I cannot work. If I could work, I most certainly would. I have always been an independent woman. What has been done to me whether out of retaliation (I am a whistleblower) or because it is business as usual in workers comp has been hell on earth. I’m told that impoverishing an injured worker is part of the attack, another strategy.
    So, I assume that my employer has saved some money by lying about where my injury had taken place. How nice for him. Like he said on the day he fired me (less than 3 months after I was injured at work), “Cecilia, tomorrow I will still own this place, everyone will be here working and YOU will be unemployed!”
    I have faith that God will pull me through this, but I have no faith or “trust” in the people in the workers compensation industry at any level including WCAB, DIR, attorneys, judges etc. I don’t believe that any injured worker should have trust in a system wherein people are physically maimed, harassed, overtly aggressively stalked, etc. A story that you wrote in 2006 I believe, entitled, “Stop the Hypocrisy”. The first paragraph that you wrote, went like this, “It seems that fraud and Workers' Compensation just belong together. The sad part is that those who commit the most heinous criminal acts and cause the greatest civil damage always seem to be just out of reach of the "long arm of the law." What's worse, is that we as an industry not only seem ambivalent towards this criminal behavior, some even seem to condone it!” You were not speaking of fraud facilitated by an injured worker! You are not the only person to write about fraud and corruption in the workers compensation industry.
    Today, I tell as many people as possible, if you are hurt at work, do not file a workers comp claim. Not only might you be the target of maiming and battery, but you will lose your privacy, and it is likely that you will be painted as a liar or mentally ill as you speak out against the crimes that befall you.

  5. You got to love TED and the Conductor though and Thanks as also for a great write up... just wish my leaders in wa were more like the conductor or at least had his views.. Peace and thanks.

  6. Do see the TED talk, it is AMAZING.. and AWESOME

    Thank you to Mr. DePaolo for sharing this with all. It was better than any mental health appointment.. for me.. today.. Peace and thanks... and thanks to the conductor

  7. And here is a link to the video... Peace https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=25&v=MxK0ZzI3AYw

  8. This system creates labels that follow you until your death. It also prevents true recovery because it provides no true return to work plan. If you recover from your injuries in most cases you will be considered a less then gainful with most employers.