Volunteer firefighter proves use of prescribed narcotics caused condition
Case name: Town of Eden Emergency Squad, 112 NYWCLR 71 (N.Y.W.C.B. 2012).
Ruling: The New York Workers' Compensation Board held that a firefighter's need for the prescribed Androgel to treat his hypogonadism was causally related to his work injuries.
it means: In New York, a medical opinion regarding causation need not be expressed with absolute or reasonable certainty.
Summary: A volunteer firefighter was injured when he was struck by a motor vehicle while out on call. Compensation was awarded for his injuries. Later, he was diagnosed with hypogonadism. The firefighter's endocrinologist examined his pituitary gland and found it was not the cause of the condition. He noted that the firefighter was taking narcotics for his work injuries and that such narcotic usage was a "likely etiology" for the firefighter's condition. The firefighter sought compensation for his prescribed Androgel. The board held that the prescription to treat his hypogonadism was causally related to his work injuries.
The carrier produced no contrary medical opinion. The board explained that although the endocrinologist did not state with absolute certainty that the condition was caused by the firefighter's use of narcotic pain medication, absolute certainty is not required. Further, the endocrinologist's justification letter clearly ruled out the other primary known cause of the condition and indicated that the firefighter's pain medication was the likely cause.
A dissenting commissioner opined that the endocrinologist's statements did not constitute sufficient probability for causal relationship and was speculative.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
July 9, 2012
Copyright 2012© LRP Publications