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Police Officer Suffered Radiation Contamination In Training Seminar

In reviewing this case, this Court must find an injury which occurred within a year of the injury which caused the death to grant a recovery.

While coverage under the Act is not limited to healthy people, we still must find an injury which occurs within the year. (In re Application of Parchert (1980), 33 Ill. Ct. Cl. 312; In re Application of Sparling (1983), 36 Ill. Ct. Cl. 353).

There is no evidence of an injury being inflicted within a year of Claimant's decedent's death in the present case. Discovery in 1988 of the prior injury in 1980 does not fulfill the requirement of the Act.

This claim is before the Court by reason of the death of X, who was a police officer with the City of Chicago Police Department.

The decedent's surviving spouse, X, seeks compensation pursuant to the terms and provisions of the Law Enforcement Officers and Firemen Compensation Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 48, par. 281 et seq.), hereinafter referred to as the Act.

The Court has carefully considered the claim for death benefits submitted by the Claimant, together with the written statement of Officer X's supervising officer and documentation submitted therewith, the medical examiner's certificate of death, and the report of the Attorney General.

The record reveals that Officer X allegedly suffered radiation contamination while participating in a special Chicago police training seminar at Argonne National Laboratory on August 27, 1980.

The participants in the seminar were testing nightvision rifle sights which contained a radioactive isotope called Promethium 147. The capsule containing the isotope apparently broke in one of the sights, directly exposing a number of the testers, including Officer X, to the radiation.

Officer X died almost nine years later, on August 14, 1989. The medical examiner's certificate of death indicates that Officer X was pronounced dead on August 14, 1989, at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. The cause of death is listed as metastatic parotid carcinoma.

For an award to be granted pursuant to the Act it must be shown that the officer was killed in the line of duty as defined in the Act. Section 2(e) of the Act provides, in relevant part, that

"'killed in the line of duty' means losing one's life as a result of injury received in the active performance of duties as a law enforcement officer if the death occurs within one year from the date the injury was received."

The record before this Court indicates that Officer X allegedly suffered his injury on August 27, 1980.

His death did not occur until almost nine years later, on August 14, 1989.

Since section 2(e) of the Act requires that the death must occur within one year from the date the injury was received for an award to be granted, we have no alternative but to deny this claim.

Based on the foregoing, it is hereby ordered that this claim be, and hereby is, denied.

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