Cruel reason Dreamworld hero denied compo
A DREAMWORLD medic who dived in to the water to save lives during the Thunder River Rapids disaster is facing a snub by an insurance giant as he battles severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
Shane Green, a decorated former police officer and paramedic, now lives as a virtual recluse in the Victorian Alps and struggles to get out of bed as he constantly relives the horror of that fateful day.
However CommInsure says Mr Green, who gave harrowing evidence at the Dreamworld inquest, may be ineligible for a total and permanent disability payout after he tried to go back to work following the tragedy.
Mr Green's legal team at Shine Lawyers have received CommInsure's intention to reject the TPD claim and are already planning an appeal.
CommInsure says the case is still under consideration.
Speaking exclusively to The Courier-Mail, Mr Green said he should be disgusted by the decision "but I don't have the energy".
After earlier careers as a police officer and paramedic, Mr Green was Dreamworld's first aid manager in October 2016 when Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low died in the Thunder River Rapids tragedy.
Arriving at the scene to see a colleague dragging someone from the water, Mr Green dived in to the trench desperately searching for survivors.
"It was such chaos," he said.
"People were yelling and screaming, it was really like something out of a disaster movie."
He said he went into "autopilot" during the ordeal, even returning to work the next day, but gradually the burden of what he had been through became too great to bear.
"You might go a while without thinking about it but then it will all come back and hit you like a brick," he said.
"I'm just not the same person I was.
"I used to be extremely social and go out three or four times a week, I used to run ultra-marathons, but now there's no motivation to even get out the door.
"I've got anxiety, I've been diagnosed with PTSD.
"I struggle with everyday things."
After leaving Dreamworld, he retreated to a shack near Mount Buller in Victoria where he eventually found work as a safety officer on a building project.
"I was trying but I knew something wasn't right," he said.
"I wasn't sleeping, I was always anxious.
"I asked to go part-time and then I eventually stopped working altogether."
Ironically his attempt to rejoin the workforce could now stand in the way of a compensation payout.
"I didn't want to just sit around on welfare so I went back to work, but I should never have been there," he said.
"It's really sad (that CommInsure is disputing his claim).
"I should be disgusted but I don't even have the energy."
Shine Lawyers insurance expert Melissa O'Neill said Mr Green "absolutely" deserved a TPD payment.
"The simple fact … is he was doing his job when he was called to one of the country's most harrowing scenes where four people were killed at a theme park," she said.
"He didn't just see the devastation from a distance, he was in among the accident scene trying against the odds to save lives.
"CommInsure has rejected Shane's TPD claim on the grounds that he still had capacity to work following the incident because he took on another role."
In correspondence to Shine, CommInsure wrote that it believed Mr Green may not be eligible for a TPD benefit as he was not covered when he ceased working for (the firm he joined after leaving Dreamworld)".
A CommInsure spokesperson said the claim was still under assessment.
"(This) includes taking into account all information that will help us come to the right decision for the member," the spokesperson said.
"We would welcome any further information that will assist with our assessment."