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NSSGA Podcast

Nov 3, 2022

Jim Anderson, Safety Superintendent at Mitsubishi Cement, joins Libby on the podcast today. From doing Search and Rescue all the way to being a Chief at the volunteer fire department where he worked, Jim has always been involved in health and safety for his entire career. In this episode, he shares one of the many safety stories he has accumulated over the years that is really quite personal for him. 

Episode Highlights:

  • One July day, Jim was made aware that Luther, a shipping clerk at their plant whom he has known for decades was displaying some unusual symptoms 
  • Luther had been to the hospital a couple times for the same symptoms, but they were not considered an emergency so the ER team did not dig any deeper 
  • This time, Luther had been told by EMS that he was not having a heart attack or cardiac event, and to go see a doctor after he got after work but his coworker who knows him well was uncomfortable with this advice and contacted Jim about it
  • When Jim got to the plant and talked to the clerk, and he was uncomfortable with that plan as well
  • When questioning him, Jim discovered that the clerk had been gardening all day in the July sun and heat the day before
  • To Jim, his symptoms were characteristic of electrolyte imbalance, particularly cramping and pain in his legs
  • But he also had some lower left lung pain which didn’t make sense to Jim, so he talked Luther into going to the hospital 
  • Jim drove him there as ambulances were hours away for a variety of reasons
  • The hospital they went to took the time to explore even further than the emergency rooms had been able to previously, and found that Luther was suffering from Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)  - clots in the leg that can migrate to other areas (lungs, brain, etc).becoming truly life threatening 
  • While Luther has survived, Jim learned of another person experiencing  similar symptoms on the same day who sadly didn’t go to a hospital and ended up dying
  • Thanks to the fact that there were people who knew Luther well enough to see that he just wasn’t acting himself, and that Luther listened to Jim to go to the hospital to get checked out, he is alive today, and has since given Jim permission to share his story


Toolbox Talk Discussion Questions:


  • In this story, we hear the story of Luther, an employee who is experiencing medical symptoms but wasn’t sure if it was serious enough to go to the doctor. What does this tell us about listening to ourselves and taking medical threats seriously?
  • How can this story encourage us to check in with one another and stay well at work and at home?
  • Do you have a story to share about taking a medical threat seriously?



“I didn't feel comfortable with just letting him go to the doctor after work and chances are he wouldn't have gone and in later conversation with him, he confirmed that.”

“He said he'd actually been to the hospital twice before for the same symptoms and they weren't able to figure it out.”

“He wasn't in really bad shape, but he was in bad enough shape.”

“There's a 95% chance that this is nothing but there's a 5% chance that this is something.”

“I knew this individual, that he needed somebody to dig a little deeper because the hospitals that he had gone to, they, their primary concern is,’Okay, is the guy going to die immediately?” Emergency Rooms are to treat emergencies but they didn't quite dig deep enough.”

“And there's a condition called DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, and it's clots in your leg, and those clots had migrated. And they cause what would be called a pulmonary embolism or a clogged artery in the lungs. And that is truly a life threatening issue.”

“Because of the personal relationship that the gentleman had at the plant with Luther, knew him well enough to call me at home going, ‘Hey, I'm not comfortable with EMS getting turned around. Can you dig into this a little deeper?’”

“By the grace of God, he listened to me going, ‘Okay, there is a 5% chance that this could be bad.’ But that 5% wound up being the suspicions that we had.”


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