Firefighter battling breast cancer not getting workers’ comp under state rules

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque firefighter recently diagnosed with breast cancer thought she’d be covered by workers’ comp, but she’s learning she doesn’t qualify because of a new state law.

For more than two decades, Laurianna Sargent has been fighting fires and saving lives. Now she’s fighting breast cancer.

Her insurance covers the medical costs and Sargent says she thought her workers’ comp would be covered under the New Mexico Presumptive Cause Bill because it can be presumed that the cancer is connected to the hazards of work. But that was not the case since there are stipulations for when firefighters can get workers’ comp for specific cancers.

“Mine was not covered, because I was not diagnosed before the age of forty,” said Sargent. She didn’t meet the age guidelines for breast cancer highlighted in the bill.

“Typically most women don’t get sent to get their first mammogram until they’re forty,” said Sargent. But she’s staying strong, and her Albuquerque Fire Rescue family is showing her she doesn’t have to do it alone.

Creating a GoFundMe so she can focus more on her recovery and less on her finances. An AFR representative is even trying to make adjustments to the Presumptive Cause Bill to help people like Sargent get coverage. They’re hoping to work with lawmakers ahead of the next legislative session.

Over the past eight years, there have been 11 people in AFR who have been diagnosed with cancer. Three people have not been covered for workers’ comp under the Presumptive Cause Bill.

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