12-0028. MILDRED S. CALAONA Employee Petitioner v. STATE OF ALASKA Self-Insured Employer Respondent.

Court:Alaska
 
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Alaska Workers Compensation Decisions 2012. Workers' Compensation Board 12-0028. MILDRED S. CALAONA Employee Petitioner v. STATE OF ALASKA Self-Insured Employer Respondent MILDRED S. CALAONA, Employee, Petitioner, v. STATE OF ALASKA, Self-Insured Employer, Respondent. AWCB Decision No. 12-0028Filed with AWCB Juneau, Alaska on February 16, 2012AWCB Case No. 201012149INTERLOCUTORY DECISION AND ORDERMildred Calaona's (Employee) July 15, 2011, petition for a Second Independent Medical Evaluation (SIME) was heard on February 14, 2012, in Juneau, Alaska. Attorney Daniel Cadra represented the State of Alaska (Employer). Non-attorney representative Patricia Shearer represented Employee. The record closed at the hearing's conclusion on February 14, 2012. ISSUE Employee contends there is a medical dispute between Employee's attending physician and the Employer's Independent Medical Evaluator (EIME) regarding causation of Employee's left knee conditions and symptoms. She requests an SIME. Employer contends Employee's attending physicians and Employer's EIME physician agree Employee's work injury resulted in a temporary exacerbation of symptoms but her ongoing disability and need for medical treatment, specifically left knee surgery, is not work-related. It contends because no medical dispute exists warranting an SIME, an SIME should not be ordered. Shall an SIME be ordered pursuant to AS 23.30.095(k)? FINDINGS OF FACT A review of the relevant record establishes the following facts and factual conclusions by a preponderance of the evidence: 1) Employee has a lengthy history of progressive and disabling left knee pain, including a left knee arthroscopy, partial medial meniscectomy and debridement of patella in 2004. (Chart Note, David Brown, M.D., October 6, 2011; Operative Report, David McGuire, M.D., January 21, 2004). 2) On August 30, 2010, Employee injured her left knee when she was cleaning a restroom on an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry, the M/V Kennicott, while working for Employer as a steward. (Report of Injury, August 31, 2010; Employee Hearing Testimony, February 14, 2012). 3) Employer initially accepted the injury and paid compensation benefits to Employee through March 16, 2011. (Compensation Report, March 16, 2011). 4) On October 7, 2010, a left knee magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed (1) moderate tricompartmental degenerative changes most severe at the medial femoral tibial joint compartment, (2) large degenerative tear throughout the posterior horn and body of the medial meniscus with little normal residual meniscal tissue still remaining, (3) much smaller tears through the posterior root and anterior body-horn junction of the lateral meniscus, (4) chronic PCL tear, and (5) intercondylar notch ganglion cysts. (Radiologist Report, Stephen Buetow, M.D., October 7, 2010). 5) On October 19, 2010, John Schwartz, M.D., evaluated Employee for left knee pain and discussed the MRI results with Employee. Dr. Schwartz diagnosed left knee degenerative joint disease. (Chart Note, Dr. Schwartz, October 19, 2010). 6) On October 20, 2010, in response to Employer's inquiry, Dr. Schwartz opined Employee's work injury caused a strain resulting in a transient...

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