Case name: Huggins v. Haysville Healthcare Center, No. 107,407 (Kan. Ct. App. 10/26/12, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Kansas Court of Appeals held that an aide was not entitled to benefits for her preexisting hip condition.
means: In Kansas, a preexisting condition is not compensable if the work activities did not accelerate the ongoing degenerative condition.
Summary: A certified nurse's aide for a senior living center noticed pain in her hip after helping to lift patients. Her pain increased over two years until it was so bad that she could hardly walk. She was diagnosed with avascular necrosis. She sought workers' compensation benefits. The Kansas Court of Appeals held that she was not entitled to benefits.
The court pointed out that current law states that an injury is not compensable solely because it aggravates, accelerates, or exacerbates a preexisting condition or renders a preexisting condition symptomatic. The provision was not in effect at the time of the aide's claim. The court concluded that the aide's condition was not compensable because she did not show that her work activities caused a change in the physical structure of her body. Also, the evidence did not establish that her work activities increased her risk of injury or otherwise contributed to her condition to a greater degree than if she had not been employed.
A doctor found a causal relationship between the aide's condition and her work but also found that her obesity and history of heavy smoking to be contributing factors to her condition. A neurosurgeon opined that her work activity may have increased her pain but wasn't the cause of the disease. An independent medical examiner opined that her condition was preexisting and that her work activities did not cause her necrosis. The IME doctor also said that the condition would have progressed whether or not she was working. Another doctor explained that avascular necrosis can be caused by trauma, but there was no evidence of trauma.
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January 28, 2013
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