Dennis Whedbee, of Homer City, Pa., lost half of his left arm in a drilling accident in North Dakota in September 2012. Jeff Swensen for ProPublica hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Swensen for ProPublica

Frances Stevens uses a custom ramp leading to her van. An accident at work in 1997 left her unable to walk. She received full workers' compensation benefits until two years ago, when the insurer withdrew her medications and home health aide. Her lawsuit is a test of California's use of anonymous, independent medical reviewers. Glenna Gordon for ProPublica hide caption

itoggle caption Glenna Gordon for ProPublica

Michael Bolla and Sally Singer lift Leon Anders using a ceiling lift and sling at the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, Calif. The VA system is among a very small number of hospitals that have installed equipment and provided proper training so their nursing staff can avoid physically lifting and moving patients themselves. Annie Tritt for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Annie Tritt for NPR

Joel Ramirez climbs back into his wheelchair with the help of Francisco Guardado, a home health aide, at his home in Rialto, Calif. Patrick T. Fallon for ProPublica hide caption

itoggle caption Patrick T. Fallon for ProPublica

Jeremy Lewis lost his left arm during a work-related incident while working at a poultry plant in Alabama. The state has the nation's lowest workers' compensation benefits for amputations and sent Lewis into just the kind of downward spiral workers' comp was intended to prevent. Dustin Chambers for ProPublica hide caption

itoggle caption Dustin Chambers for ProPublica

Joel Ramirez climbs back into his wheelchair with the help of Francisco Guardado, a home health aide, at his home in Rialto, Calif. Ramirez was paralyzed from the waist down in 2009 when a 900-pound crate fell on him at a warehouse. Changes to California workers' compensation laws have impacted his quality of care. Patrick T. Fallon for ProPublica hide caption

itoggle caption Patrick T. Fallon for ProPublica

Lupita Ramirez dresses her husband, Joel, at their home in Rialto, Calif. Joel was paralyzed from the waist down after being crushed by a pallet when he was working in a warehouse. Patrick T. Fallon for ProPublica hide caption

itoggle caption Patrick T. Fallon for ProPublica

To safely lift Bernard Valencia out of his hospital bed, Cheri Moore uses a ceiling lift and sling. The VA hospital in Loma Linda, Calif., has safe patient handling technology installed throughout its entire facility. Annie Tritt for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Annie Tritt for NPR

Terry Cawthorn was a nurse at Mission Hospital for more than 20 years. But after a series of back injuries, mainly from lifting patients, she was fired. Cawthorn took legal action against the hospital and still faces daily struggles as a result of her injury. Susannah Kay for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Susannah Kay for NPR

The screenshot from a simulation video shows the magnitude and distribution of forces NPR correspondent Daniel Zwerdling endured on his spine while re-creating the way nurses lift patients from their beds. Courtesy of the Spine Research Institute at The Ohio State University hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the Spine Research Institute at The Ohio State University