Case name: Medic One, LLC v. Colbert, No. CA11-318 (Ark. Ct. App. 09/21/11).
Ruling: The Arkansas Court of Appeals held that a paramedic was entitled to additional medical treatment for his shoulder injury.
What it means: In Arkansas, a reinjury that is a continuation of the original compensable injury is compensable.
Summary: A paramedic fell and injured his shoulder while caring for a patient in the back of an ambulance. He underwent rotator cuff repair surgery and was prescribed physical therapy. His condition improved with physical therapy. Later, the therapist noted that the paramedic reported increased pain over several weeks. An MRI revealed a new tear in his shoulder. His doctor recommended surgery. The employer denied the request for surgery and contended that the new tear was the result of an independent intervening cause, not the compensable injury. The Arkansas Court of Appeals held that the paramedic was entitled to additional medical treatment for the shoulder injury.
The employer argued that the paramedic's injury could have occurred during a hunting trip he took days before he went to his doctor complaining of pain. The employer also asserted that the injury could have occurred at an advanced cardiovascular life support class he attended. The court explained that the employer's timeline of events did not line up with its argument that the paramedic tore his rotator cuff in the class. Also, the paramedic said he did not experience pain while hunting.
The doctor opined that the new tear likely occurred over time and was not due to a specific event. Work hardening was taking place at physical therapy, where the paramedic lifted boxes adding progressively more weight. The court found that physical therapy was the source of the increased pain and new torn rotator cuff.
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November 3, 2011
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