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Police Officer With Bullet Lodged In Chest Fights For Disability Benefits


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11/17/2008
Brent Adams
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Nearly 18 months after his career was ended by the personal injury he received from a bullet, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania police Detective Jeffery Smith continues to fight to receive disability pension.

On January 3, 2007, Smith was shot in the chest by a prostitute, resulting in nerve damage and muscle spasms which cause discomfort when he stands or sits for too long. Because of his injuries, Smith had to retire in December after a 23 year career. He was awarded a Purple Heart by the police bureau.

Now, there is a problem with his disability payments, as there is a disagreement among the doctors who must certify him to receive disability from the Policeman’s Relief & Pension Fund.

On the day of the shooting, Smith, who was not wearing a protective vest, required immediate transport to UPMC Mercy hospital in Uptown, Pennsylvania where his injuries were stabilized by trauma doctors and surgeons. The majority of the bullet’s force was absorbed by his ribs. The man who shot him, 20-year-old William Scott received a 10 to 30 year prison sentence. The bullet is still encased in scar tissue inside Smith’s chest cavity.

According to Pennsylvania law, an officer applying for disability benefits is required to be seen by two doctors of the board’s choosing and one of the officer’s choosing.

Smith’s doctor said he was too injured to work. Smith says one city doctor agreed, by the third maintains that he is not disabled.



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