Crew member shares his story about misdiagnosed injury and management mistreatment

Jan 14, 2019

Rafael Arnim Michelmann was a crew member working for the bar department onboard AIDACara. In 2018, while on duty he sustained torn thumb tendon injury to his left hand. Mr. Michelmann says that the ship’s medical staff misdiagnosed his injury and he continued to work for two weeks with the injured hand. A tear to this ligament can be very painful and limits ability to grasp objects between thumb and index finger, however, cruise ship doctors and Mr. Michelmann supervisor, said that he was fit for duty, working with only one hand.

He wanted to share his experience about mistreatment by the doctors and the supervisors. Here is his story.

Today I will tell you how it was for me to work on a cruise ship of AIDA CRUISES. The days are long, the breaks too short, there are no days off. With all this, I have always been fine for 6 months and have lived my routine. Of course, I'm only a human and I'm not perfect, too, I'm making mistakes and I often came too late, missed inductions, received warnings.

With all this, you can get on the boat even if you are far away from home and if you work in the F & B area in the bar team you do not have so much time to explore the mainland. But with all this, I realized that I had chosen that. But imagine you hurt yourself or you get sick? On the seventh of March 2018, I cut accidentally my Thumb stretch tendon. After the accidental cut, of course, I immediately realized that something was wrong. I could not really grab and work with my thumb. I immediately went to the doctor and wanted to get treatment. The size of the injury was about 3mm. Clear at first the doctor thinks I want to fool her. After multiple visits of both doctors, I was not taken seriously and sent away (thank God, the doctor helper gave me at least a form to fill out that it was an accident at work) With the help of my F & B management, I got then at least a few days a decent bandage, of course, the guests could see it and always asked me what was going on. Yeah, there were always interesting discussions in the cold of Norway at the pool bar. Try to do something for a day with your hand without thumb up to the work, how does it feel? I worked more or less with only one hand in front of the passengers. Of course, we do not live in the Middle Ages anymore and on the day of my injury, I saw what had happened to me. I was not sure, I'm not a doctor but the self-test when you put your hand on a flat surface and trying to stretch your thumb has shown exactly that I got an injury from me. I was several times on the ships hospital and It annoyed me very much now because the doctors said I would ridicule them and would not trust two trained doctors with a lot of experience, where in hindsight I can only laugh about it.

Lastly, I was in Trondheim two days before the end of my contract. 

And God protects Norway and all her doctors, but the woman who saw my hand there was unfortunately not from the subject and did not recognize the tendon tear. (I got an X-ray, but a tendon rupture can only be recognized by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). I worked on the ship for the last two weeks.

Of course, I picked up my honorable evaluation the day before at F & B Service Manager Michael Amelung (huge title but smoking at the pool bar from morning to night, drinking coffee and …

This is Rafael Arnim Michelmann post.

Anyway, I got the worst evaluation you could imagine. (Incomprehensible to me and my colleagues, I have done a good job on the first AIDA world cruise, which can also confirm each of my colleagues.

Management changed after the world cruise, so I can confidently say that there was no handover of my performance, new management has only noticed the time of my injury, of course, because of this injury I was very unmotivated and had no more desire to work (with one hand). I did not sign my evaluation, just left, Mr. Amelung stayed at night in the crew bar to us what I found rather disrespectful and then gave him a beer shower over his head.

From the general manager Christopher leikauf I had to hear that he never wants to hear something like that again I speak with guests about my problems. Well, I suggest them first, get better doctors and not forbid the passengers to use their eyes and their mouths. Eventually, my contract ended and I left the ship. I was glad that it was all over and I could see my family again. In the small town, I live went then to a hospital and they immediately realized that I suffered a tendon rupture. An MRI was taken and the proof was there. I was operated on 27.04.2018 and was in hospital for 4 days. Tendon operated and finished? That's not so nice. I could not work for 6 months, could not drive for 6 months, and got depression. And had to do ergos and physiotherapy three times a week. In addition, I had to cancel my holiday (vacation with one hand makes no sense or?). And for 4 months I had to wear a splint. Sure, there's worse than just having a hand but it's supposed to be nothing for that's pretty tough. I got sick pay every month and the handling of Crew Care was really commendable thank you !!! I've been thinking about it for a long time and about this bad time and one thing I just want to say is that your sick pay was nice and good, but it does not give you any satisfaction. I'm still the loser mentality. I just want to say it.

I WAS RIGHT!!!!!!!