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Former flight attendant denied benefits after contracting TB

In November of 2008 a former Michigan flight attendant for Northwest Airlines (now Delta) received a call from her employer that she had been exposed to active tuberculosis (TB) during a flight from Detroit earlier that year. This apparently happens from time to time and at first she was not very worried about it. Her supervisor said that exposure on a flight usually does not lead to infection but that she may want to get it checked. The medical test came back positive and she developed full blown TB.

For a time, the attendant received disability and workers' compensation benefits from Northwest and its successor Delta Airlines. But the flight attendant says that the airline is now contesting how she contracted the disease and has cut off her benefits. The flight attendant's denial of benefits is now before the Michigan Workers Compensation court.

The flight attendant says that when the airline suspended her benefits they challenged her assertion that she had contracted the disease while working. This came after the airline itself had notified her that she had been exposed to active TB and recommended that she be tested. She explained that she needed the benefits to pay for her health care and asked what she was supposed to do. According to the former flight attendant, her manager told her to go on welfare.

After the woman contracted TB, she had an adverse reaction to the treatment medication and developed additional health problems causing serious damage to her liver. She now suffers from nausea, fatigue and risk of additional organ damage.

Source: My Fox Detroit "Former Flight Attendant Denied Benefits after Contracting TB," Bill Gallagher, Nov. 2, 2011

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