MRSA infection can't be linked to work in absence of medical evidence
Case name: Murphy v. Johnson Controls, Inc., 27 PAWCLR 170 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2012).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board reversed the workers' compensation judge's grant of a worker's review petition expanding the description of injury to include a work-related MRSA infection. The board affirmed the remainder of the decision.
What it means: In Pennsylvania, in cases where the causal connection between a worker's work and his injury is not obvious, the connection must be established by unequivocal medical testimony.
Summary: The board ruled that the WCJ erred in adding a MRSA infection to the description of a production electrician's work injury. The electrician sustained a work-related right knee strain. The employer filed a review petition alleging that his right ACL condition was not related to his work injury, and a termination petition alleging that he had fully recovered. The electrician filed a review petition alleging that he became infected with MRSA as a result of treatment of his work-related injury.
The WCJ denied the employer's petitions and granted the electrician's review petition, concluding that the electrician showed that his work-related injury included an ACL tear, and as a result of his treatment of that injury, he became infected with MRSA. The board reversed the grant of the electrician's review petition, determining that the WCJ improperly expanded the injury description to include a MRSA infection. There was no medical testimony to support the electrician's burden of proving the MRSA infection was related to the work injury. The electrician did not present any medical testimony that he sustained a MRSA infection, let alone that the infection was related in any way to his work injury.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
February 4, 2013
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