In a case involving a claimant who injured her lower back while employed as a medical assistant, the Commission ruled in her favor on review. See Medical assistant proves current back problems attributable to work accident. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin, Volume 29, Issue 7, June 11, 2021, pp. 4-5. The case discussed in the article, Cisneros v. Northshore University Health System, 29 ILWCLB 71 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2021), involved a claimant who, as already mentioned, was a medical assistant. In the course of her employment, the claimant injured her lower back while lifting a heavy box, with said injury and the resulting pain intensifying with each passing hour after the accident. The next day, the claimant presented at a local hospital for treatment, and was diagnosed with lower back strain, and was also placed on work restrictions, specifically being forbidden from attempting to lift anything heavy. The claimant was also prescribed steroids and pain medication, and she was ordered to undergo physical therapy as well. Over time, as her complaints of pain continued to increase, it was discovered, by a pain specialist that the claimant consulted with, that she (the claimant) suffered from two disk protrusions, at which time it was suggested that she undergo a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. At hearing, the arbitrator ruled that the claimant had failed to demonstrate that her injuries arose as a result of her accident at work, and while the arbitrator awarded her 11.7 weeks of temporary total disability (“TTD”) benefits up to November 2, 2018, the arbitrator refused to approve any additional medical treatment for the claimant beyond November 20, 2018. The claimant understandably appealed the arbitrator’s decision, which the Commission reversed and modified on review, finding that the claimant’s injuries were indeed caused by her work accident, based on the fact that she had no lower back problems prior to the accident, and because both the claimant’s treating physicians and her employer’s independent medical examiners diagnosed her with definite injuries that correlated with her subjective complaints of pain (which also demonstrated that the claimant was not feigning illness or injury). Thus, Commission substantially increased the claimant’s award to 59.4 weeks of TTD benefits (through October 2, 2019), and further ordered payment of all of her medical expenses that were still due and owed, with the claimant also granted the right to undergo the recommended disk fusion surgery. This case is an example of how subjective a decision at arbitration can be sometimes, especially since it was found by the Commission on appeal that the claimant was entitled to much more that she was awarded at hearing.
Medical assistant proves current back problems attributable to work accident. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin, Volume 29, Issue 7, June 11, 2021, pp. 4-5.
See Id.at 4.
See Id.at 4.
See Id.at 4.
See Id.at 4-5.