Woman who extracted pig semen for work looks to sue employer after developing wrist injuries
A woman whose job was to “milk” pigs for their sperm says a crippling wrist injury she suffered on the job left her incapacitated.
Maxine, 31, had a job she loved in animal welfare, which paid well, but unfortunately caused long-term injuries.
She started her job collecting pig semen for raising top quality pork at the age of 18, but by the age of 21 it had caused severe injuries to both of her wrists.
Ten years later, she still suffers from persistent pain, which required major surgery and prevented her from working in other industries such as flower arranging, steam cleaning and demolition.
“I liked working on the farm, collecting the actual semen isn’t that exciting,” she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The wrist injury was caused by the pigs having to keep the penis still while moving around a lot.
Maxine, 31 (pictured), had a job she loved in animal welfare, which paid well, but unfortunately also caused long-term injuries, which has now left her unable to work
“One big day it was working with about 25 to 30 pigs, collecting their semen in a milkshake cup for artificial insemination.”
First she used her right hand and then her manager suggested she switch to the left after the right hand became very painful.
But the pain persisted and was so severe that one day Maxine cried in pain while sweeping the floor, so her manager suggested she see a doctor.
Then her employer removed her from the sperm extraction and took her to the laboratory. But years later, her wrists still hurt terribly.
She is now investigating legal action against her former employer’s insurer for lost earnings, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
At the time, Maxine was grateful to her manager for encouraging her to file a WorkCover claim, but now she wants to warn other young employees not to overwork.
“I was doing myself so much damage trying to keep up with the workload. It has caused a long-term injury. I will never be able to go back to physical work,” she said.
“It has changed my whole outlook on life and my ability to work. There’s no way I can make enough work to buy a house right now.”
Maxine started her job collecting pig semen for raising top quality pork at the age of 18, but by the age of 21 it had caused severe injuries to both wrists (stock image)
Although her situation is very serious, Maxine can understand why people might be amused by how it happened.
“Well it’s kind of funny because I screwed up my hands with pigs and that’s hilarious, whoever you’re talking to that’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said.
“It’s legit how I hurt myself… what a ridiculous way to do it.”
By the time her injuries started to stabilize, she was no longer receiving WorkCover payments, so she found a new job, but things didn’t go as planned.
“While working at the dry cleaners for only a few months…I had a flare-up in another part of the wrist and had to reapply for WorkCover assistance,” she said.
Maxine entered a pain rehabilitation program in 2018 and has been dealing with the pain ever since. Ultrasounds and MRIs confirmed it was the same injury she suffered 10 years earlier, but dramatically worse.
It not only affects her ability to work, but also everyday tasks that most people take for granted.
She has trouble with buttons and knots. She has to be careful not to put too much water in the kettle and she cannot lift heavy objects.
“It takes me almost all day to chop vegetables. Raw chicken has to be pre-cut because I can’t cut through it,” she said.
Even brushing her hair is a problem and she has to use a special brush for that.
“My weeks are scheduled so that I can pace myself without getting into a lot of pain, but still be able to complete tasks.”
Michelle Cavalieri, Maxine’s attorney at Slater and Gordon, said repetitive motions and heavy workloads without adequate breaks can often cause workplace injuries.
“Maxine thought she was building muscle, but in fact she was harming herself,” she said.
“She just had major surgery on her left wrist to remove inflammation… It’s likely the other wrist will need surgery as well.”
Ms Cavalieri said wrist injuries are common in many workplaces and workers are often barred from participating in many physical roles in the future.
Maxine is now investigating legal action against her former employer’s insurer for lost earnings, medical expenses, and pain and suffering (stock image)
After her surgery, Maxine’s doctors told her they didn’t want her to use her hands at all.
“So I’m really kind of struggling for ideas,” she said.
‘I’ve been joking for years that I’m starting a company as a tour guide with such a footboat, but that’s not very realistic.
“So I’m not quite sure what I’m going to be able to do.”