Graphic of Dr. Pathan's portrait while wearing a lab coat

Getting employees back to work

When someone is injured, it can keep them from enjoying activities with family and pastimes they love – but most of all, it can prevent them from working. And it takes a team of people to return an employee back to his or her full potential.

During his rotations in medical school, Sajidkhan Pathan, MD, was intrigued by the team approach of occupational medicine. He compares it to detective work.

“In occupational medicine, you work as a detective. You have to figure out what happened and how the injury is related to the job,” Dr. Pathan said.

Dr. Pathan recently joined Spartanburg Regional’s Occupational Health office in Greer, where he works to care for and treat our Upstate employees. He is a board certified occupational health physician. His additional specialties include providing medical review officer services for corporate health customers, as well as performing Federal Aviation Administration physicals as a certified Aviation Medical Examiner.

“Eighty to ninety percent of work-related injuries are orthopaedic related — shoulder, ankle or neck. It’s often due to repetitive work,” Dr. Pathan said.

Dr. Pathan and his team also see and treat environmental injuries, such as chemical exposures.

Through his investigative medical work, Dr. Pathan also considers pre-existing conditions that may contribute to an injury.

An employee can keep working while he or she recovers. Dr. Pathan’s team first assesses the patient’s job description to begin treatment. Then, the team helps the employer adapt the job so the patient can continue to work while he or she heals.  Most injured employees will return to their pre-injury status and go back to doing what they enjoy.

“I always want to get an employee back to work and keep them in the mentality of returning to their job,” he said. “Sitting at home does not help the patient.”

In addition to working with injured patients, Dr. Pathan performs pre-employment screenings and physicals, fit for duty exams, medical procedures and injections. He also works with employers on injury prevention and ergonomics within their workplaces.

“We will visit a company and observe the job process to see how we can prevent future injuries,” Dr. Pathan said. “Injury education and prevention are a large part of the occupational medicine.”

Dr. Pathan was inspired to become a doctor by his father, who moved to North Carolina from India and worked in a factory. His father wanted Dr. Pathan and his sister to have a better life than he did and encouraged both of them to do well in school.

“I decided to become a doctor because you can change peoples’ lives,” Dr. Pathan said.

Do you need occupational health services for your organization or would you be interested in safety assessment for your workplace? Connect with Dr. Pathan and Corporate Health through our Corporate Relations Manager by calling 864-560-4033.