Conflicting medical testimony doesn't block temporary benefits for nurse
Case name: Bluegrass Regional Mental Health v. Bellamy, No. 2010-CA-000522-WC (Ky. Ct. App. 03/11/11, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a nurse was entitled to temporary total disability benefits and future medical and income benefits.
What it means: When there is conflicting medical evidence, an administrative law judge's decision will not be reversed if there is substantial evidence supporting his decision.
Summary: A nurse slipped and fell on ice in the parking lot of her employer, injuring her low back and left leg. The parties agreed that she suffered a work-related injury. The nurse had a history of low back problems. She said that her pain increased after the work-related slip and fall from radiating halfway down her left leg to radiating across both legs with numbness in both her legs and arms. The nurse sought benefits. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that she was entitled to temporary total disability benefits and future medical and income benefits.
The employer argued that the nurse did not suffer a compensable injury. The court disagreed. One doctor testified that the work-related slip and fall produced permanent impairment while two other doctors said the injuries were temporary. Although there was conflicting medical testimony, the court said substantial evidence supported a conclusion of compensability.
The court also found that the doctor's opinion was objective medical evidence. He physically examined her and considered her history of complaints, treatment, and various injuries dating back 10 years. He also conducted motion studies, pinprick studies, strength measurements, and motor, reflex, and pulse testing. Further, he reviewed her medical records.
The court found that an award of TTD benefits was proper because the nurse was unable to return to the type of work she was customarily performing at the time of her injury. The nurse was placed on work restrictions, and the employer would not allow her to return to work with any restrictions.
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April 14, 2011
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