USPS denies benefits to widow of postal worker who died after delayed 911 call

Samuel Macasieb

Workers’ Compensation attorney, George P. Surmaitis, with A Professional Law Corporation, recently attended a hearing for a U.S. postal worker’s widow in a highly controversial case regarding the death of postal worker Samuel Macasieb, who died inside the west Oakland processing and distribution center, one of the largest and busiest postal service facilities in California. According to the court documents, it is alleged that Macasieb suffered apparent head trauma that left him incapacitated; however, due to USPS policy, no one called 911 immediately. In the event of a medical emergency, a USPS employee is required to first find a supervisor, who then must contact postal police and ask them to call 911.

“Only the postal police are able to initiate the 911 procedure, and employees were not allowed to call 911 and policy wouldn’t allow police or medical professionals into the facility,” said Surmaitis, who is co-counsel with Cory A. Birnberg of Birnberg & Associates, representing the widow of Samuel Macasieb.

Following the incident, according to the court documents, the government denied federal benefits to Samuel’s widow, claiming it was not work-related, which Surmaitis is trying to rectify. Samuel worked for the USPS for 28 years, working the graveyard shift operating a letter-sorting machine. The recent hearing took place before a Hearing Representative of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) of the U.S. Department of Labor (Case No. 132315562).

“This type of hearing is informal, but the stakes are high for the family of Mr. Macasieb,” said Surmaitis. “The hearing office has allowed us a window of time to submit additional evidence and we hope that upon receipt of that evidence that we will be able to obtain a favorable outcome for Samuel’s widow.”

  • paul

    so USPS was solely responsible for the delay in Mr. Macasieb receiving medical care, due to a policy that prevented employees from calling 911 until a nonsense chain of command was followed, a policy that USPS has changed since Mr. Macasieb’s death, but yet somehow USPS bears no responsibility for his unnecessary death. Apparently if only Mr. Macasieb had called in sick that day he would still be alive, with a letter of warning in his file, but still alive, so apparently this is all the fault of Mr. Macasieb. Makes perfect postal sense to me.

  • Val Nostdahl

    USPS widows is on face book

  • dsmith031111@yahoo.com

    rules are for people who cannot make a decision

  • Stellar Steve, LSSA

    I am trying to imagine the type of discipline a fellow postal worker would have faced if they had broken the rules and called 911 in time to save this person’s life???

  • Joan Ditton

    only people who work at the USPS could understand that one and think yep sounds about right.

  • paul

    Well, thank you Joan, it’s apparent we both work for the company. And, the sad thing is that management would sincerely believe that their plan was perfectly logical

  • JM

    In a large security controlled processing facility random 911 calls are an issue.

    You need to get the emergency medical personnel access through the correct gate, have an escort waiting, make sure they can get to the patient and make sure they can get out quickly – not easy in a 500,000+ sq ft facility with forklifts and tugs pulling around thousands of pounds of mail.

    The what the heck were they thinking part comes into play with this: “Only the postal police are able to initiate the 911 procedure”.

    So now, an employee has to tell a supervisor, who tells a MDO or general clerk near a phone to call the Postal Police and, if and when they get through to the Postal Police, the Postal Police, with their extensive medical training, decide whether or not to call 911?

    The group think that allowed that policy to be put into place and the management climate that prevented anyone from correcting the policy is the issue, because, from the outside looking in it’s obviously ridiculous.

    Grab the nearest person with a radio, they radio the office, the office calls 911, the MDO makes sure the first responders can get in and out as quickly as possible – that’s the only policy there should be in any processing facility. No Postal Employee should ever be put in the position of deciding whether or not 911 is justified.

    The thing about this case that baffles me is why the Postal Service would withhold benefits from the widow. It puts the whole thing in the headlines again, it happened at work, medical response was significantly delayed for purely work related reasons and she’s not trying to get millions of dollars, just the survivors benefit.

    The decision to add insult to injury in this case is as poor as the “Postal Police” policy.

  • retired too

    This is the kind of case that would should terrify any sane management person who was responsible lest it somehow get in front of a civil jury.

  • John Williams Sr.

    A shame.

  • Quest

    USPS Management sucks, some of the dumbest people earning $80k and up on the buddy system

  • UGiveMeAHeadache

    Sue the bastards

  • crd

    This is a clear cut case for suing the Postal Service. Just because it was their policy, doesn’t make it right. The Postal Service is the kind of organization, that loves to add insult to injury!

  • cheryl

    Every time we get a good one, it’s not long until we get another bad one. It’s like we have a revolving door around here.

  • Kyle Ruth

    please pardon my use of cussing the sob should be tried for murder 1. the widow should get not only her benefits but money for pain and suffering. prayers for the widow god will bless her. minister ruth kyle uln

  • Kyle Ruth

    mental ward

  • Kyle Ruth

    omg prayers going up