COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus firefighter Jesse Williams now has confirmation from a doctor that his prostate cancer is directly related to his job.
Williams is fighting back against a decision by the City of Columbus to appeal a ruling from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation that he is entitled to benefits.
Williams’ attorney Karen Turano told a hearing officer at the Ohio Industrial Commission Monday that the confirmation came from her client’s doctor. “He did provide the opinion that the prostate cancer was causally related to Mr. Williams work activity,” Turano said.
A new state law says that as long as a firefighter has been on a hazardous duty job for at least 6 years, their cancer is presumed to be job-related. The Bureau of Workers Compensation had granted Williams’ claim for benefits based on that presumption but the City of Columbus appealed the ruling.
Williams continues to work. He says his cancer is in remission.
So he’s fighting for future medical and disability benefits should the cancer return.
Last week, the city dropped its appeal in the case of firefighter Mark Rine. Diagnosed with terminal skin cancer, Rine has been the leading voice in trying to raise awareness of the incidence and causes of cancer among firefighters. The city dropped its appeal after Rine presented a doctor’s confirmation tying his cancer to his job.
Williams hopes to have a similar outcome now that he too has a doctor’s opinion of medical causality.
Jesse Williams, his brother Jake, and his father Bill, all suffered from cancer they believe to be related to their jobs as firefighters. Jake’s application for workers comp benefits were already approved and accepted by the city.
Turano believes it’s time for the city to do the same with Jesse Williams. “I don’t know why the city would continue to fight this claim,” Turano said. “We do have a diagnosis and the firefighter has been a firefighter for a number of years… and the city has continued to appeal and fight this.”
NBC4 left a message Monday with City of Columbus Department of Human Resources asking for comment.