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Survey of Recent Work Comp Decisisons – Shoulder Injuries with Surgery and Loss of Job

Cummings v. Care Initiatives; File Numbers 5036558; 5036559 (8/10/12): 32 yr. old high school graduate; CNA certificate; prior work experience included daycare, management, factory work; worked for the nursing home from July 2009 thru October 2010; originally injured left shoulder in March 2010; medical evidence does not document any treatment until June 2010 when Claimant injured left shoulder “again” opening a garbage bag; in April 2012, Claimant amended date of injury on petition to include both dates of March and June 2010; initial ER notes demonstrate Claimant was not able to grasp items or even raise her arm; Claimant underwent shoulder surgery with Dr. Kirkland; after surgery, Claimant initially returned to light duty but was involved in a car accident, and failed to return to work after December 2010; sent to Dr. Miller who performed another MRI which showed degenerative disk disease regarding the neck but no significant treatment; Dr. Kirkland did postsurgical examination in January 2011 finding MMI, no permanent restrictions or limitations and gave Claimant a 9% whole person impairment; IME physician, Dr. Bansal, found 14% whole person  impairment and related neck, back and shoulder complaints to the two work injuries; Claimant’s vocational evaluator, Mr. Vierling, relied on Dr. Bansal and found claimant could not return to work without restrictions; Deputy Walleser did not find Claimant credible, agreed with Dr. Kirkland and found Claimant could have returned to work without restrictions, finding only a 9% industrial disability, and found the March of 2010 injury date barred by statute of limitations; Claimant was awarded reimbursement of costs for IME.
Bakken v. Orwig; File Number 5038108 (9/19/12): 49 yr. old high school graduate; extensive work history in farming with some other experience with power line maintenance, grain elevator, and electrical component assembly before going back to farming work with Orwig; had prior 2005 neck pain which radiated into his left arm/shoulder causing him to undergo a cervical fusion which he testified had caused full recovery, but medical records demonstrated ongoing complaints and treatment into 2010; in February 2010, Claimant complained of pain in both his neck and shoulder to Dr. Kressin, but did not complain of a work relatedness until a May 2010 exam with Dr. Shaffer; eventually, Claimant underwent biceps tenotomy, SLAP debridement, and subacromial decompression by Dr. Jensen in Feb. 2011; pain was still complained of into October 2011, but Dr. Jensen placed him at MMI, no restrictions and 2% whole person permanent partial impairment at that time; FCE conducted in October 2011 showed Claimant was able to work in the medium physical demand level which caused Claimant to be unable to return to work at Orwig; Claimant’s IME, Dr. Bansal, assigned 7% whole person impairment for the right shoulder and recommended no frequent lifting, pushing, pulling at no more than 20 pounds; at Defendants’ request, Claimant was seen by orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Bowman, who opined Claimant’s right shoulder problems resulted from work activities in early 2010 but the ongoing complaints did not and he agreed with the 2% rating; Deputy Walleser agreed with Dr. Bowman and found a 25% industrial loss related to the 2010 shoulder injury.
Dearborn v. Care Initiatives; File Number 5034428 (7/23/12): 48 yr. old high school graduate with Associates Degrees in Police Science and Nursing; work history included cook positions, meatpacking, criminal justice, and then began working as LPN for Care Initiatives; duties required lifting 50 pounds routinely and 100 pounds occasionally; prior medical records did demonstrate some right shoulder complaints and treatment, and Claimant was involved in MMA fights potentially causing right shoulder injury; there was dispute over whether Claimant injured his right shoulder at work as claimed, but he was ultimately found to have injured his right shoulder at work while lifting a deceased resident in January 2009; ARNP Pick, to whom Claimant was initially sent for care, opined that his shoulder injury was work related; Dr. Goebel, and orthopedic specialist, found a massive rotator cuff tear but felt very strong it could not be work related, so further care was unauthorized; Claimant was terminated in February 2009 making $16.75/hr.; Dr. Gross performed surgery in March 2012, opined the injury was work-related, released Claimant to work light duty by June 2009 and by October 2009, to full duty work; Claimant found work as a clinical nurse for $15.00/hr. which did not require any lifting, pushing or pulling; Claimant’s IME, Dr. Gammel, found the injury work-related, opined to an impairment of 9% to the upper right extremity, and placed Claimant in medium category of work capabilities; Claimant’s vocational expertl, Michael Newman, opined Claimant was unlikely to return as a non-clinical LPN; Deputy Erica Elliott found a work-related injury had occurred, Claimant had sustained 30% industrial disability, Claimant was awarded all healing benefits for 8 months and all medical costs to be paid for by Defendants.
Amendt v. Klaussner Corporate Services, Inc.; File Number 5038409 (10/17/12): 36 yr. old high school graduate taking classes to become a RN; work history included fast food restaurants, egg hatchery, and department stores; started working for Klaussner in 1994 which required 60-90 pounds being pulled routinely; injured left shoulder at work in Dec. 2009; Dr. Leupold performed surgery for a labral tear and possible SLAP lesion in March 2010, returning him to light duty work by June 2010, and full duty by September 2010; due to ongoing complaints, Dr. Meis performed a left shoulder arthroscopy consisting of a subacromial decompression and debridement in June 2011, returning Claimant to full duty by September 2011; Claimant lost job at Klaussner due to factory closing in August 2011, but continued to work at his part time job as a cook while going back to school; Dr. Meis opined MMI by October 2011 and 2% BAW permanent impairment; Claimant’s IME, Dr. Stoken, rated a 2% BAW permanent impairment and gave restrictions of 10 pounds constant, 25 less frequent, and 50 occasionally; both Drs. Meis and Dr. Stoken advised Claimant to leave factory work; Claimant continued to complain of pain with both burning and stiffening up stating he would not have been able to return to Klaussner had the factory remained open due to his limitations; Deputy Christenson found claimant suffered a 10% industrial disability.
Wood v. Christensen Farms & Feedlots; File Number 5039045 (10/17/12): 50 yr. old high school graduate; work history included farming and grain bin construction; began working as an in-state trucker hauling hogs in 1995 for Christensen; also owns his own small landscaping business and owns rental properties that he maintains and manages; in December 2010, Claimant slipped and injured his right shoulder while loading hogs; he was seen by orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Buck, who performed right shoulder arthroscopic subacromial decompression surgery in March 2011; released to work in April 2011 with 20 pound lifting restriction, no work at or above shoulder and no work with livestock; placed at MMI by July 2011, modifying work restrictions to 50 pounds lifting but no above shoulder work; underwent FCE in August 2011 with findings suggestive of medium to heavy work capacity, but limited overhead capabilities; Dr. Buck opined a 2% BAW permanent impairment and advised to avoid any lifting above shoulder; Claimant’s IME, Dr. Jones, found a 9% BAW permanent impairment; Claimant’s vocational expert, Barbara Laughlin, opined Claimant sustained 100% loss to the amount of retraining, 94.3% loss of transferrable occupations, and 98.7% loss of unskilled occupations; Defendants’ vocational expert, Patricia Conway, opined Claimant had a 40-50% loss of access to pre-injury labor market; Deputy Walleser rejected Claimant’s odd-lot allegation and found him to have sustained a 25% industrial disability.
Winn v. Pella Corporation; File Numbers 5035646; 5035647 (9/19/12): 61 year old with GED; worked primarily for Pella since 1976; she has multiple previous injuries but prior to August 2008, she had no permanent restrictions for either shoulder; after tearing left rotator cuff in 2008, she was placed on medical restrictions but continued to work until December 2010 when she was terminated; Claimant claimed injury to her right shoulder in either June or November of 2010; she initially treated with her personnel physician, ARNP Todd, who noted that she was overusing right shoulder because she had not been approved for left shoulder surgery; eventually, Claimant underwent right shoulder rotator cuff repair surgery by Dr. Meyer, who believed the injury was attributable to work; Claimant’s IME, Dr. Stoken, gave 10% BAW permanent impairment as a result of the injury and attributed it to workl; Defendants’ IME, Dr. Kuhnein, did not attribute right shoulder injury to a causal connection due to questioning Claimant’s credibility; Deputy McGovern found Claimant to have suffered a cumulative injury to her right shoulder with a November 2010 injury date, and found Claimant had suffered an 80% industrial disability.

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