Firefighter denied disability pension for colon cancer
Three doctors were unable to definitely determine a "causal relationship" between his cancer and his experiences on the job
WARWICK, R.I. — The state’s Retirement Board Wednesday refused to grant a disability pension to a Cranston firefighter, also a smoker, who argued that his colon cancer is a job-related medical condition under Rhode Island law.
In a 7-6 vote, the panel voted against Kevin J. Lang’s appeal, accepting the recommendation of the board’s disability subcommittee and setting the stage for another round of appellate arguments in Workers Compensation Court.
The vote followed a tightly argued proceeding, with officials on both sides debating the interpretation of the laws on cancer and firefighting. Some argued that state law presumes any form of cancer afflicting any firefighter is job-related and the retirement board has no discretion to deny a disability pension.