12-0069. CHRISTIAN VAZQUEZ Employee v. ALASKA PACIFIC ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES Employer and ALASKA NATIONAL INSURANCE CO. Insurer Defendants.

Court:Alaska
 
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Alaska Workers Compensation Decisions 2012. Workers' Compensation Board 12-0069. CHRISTIAN VAZQUEZ Employee v. ALASKA PACIFIC ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES Employer and ALASKA NATIONAL INSURANCE CO. Insurer Defendants ALASKA WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARDP.O. Box 115512 Juneau, Alaska 99811-5512CHRISTIAN VAZQUEZ, Employee, Applicant, v. ALASKA PACIFIC ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, Employer, and ALASKA NATIONAL INSURANCE CO., Insurer, Defendants.FINAL DECISION AND ORDERAWCB Case No. 200912372Filed with AWCB Anchorage, Alaska on April 6, 2012AWCB Decision No. 12-0069Christian Vazquez's (Employee) claim for continuing medical treatment was heard on the written record on March 27, 2012. Michael Patterson represented Employee. Robin Jager Gabbert represented Alaska Pacific Environmental Services (Employer). The record closed on March 27, 2012. ISSUE Employee contends his current need for right shoulder medical treatment is due to his July 30, 2009 work injury. Employee seeks continuing medical benefits relating to his right shoulder, including labral repair surgery. Employer contends Employee's right shoulder medical condition and need for treatment is not due to his work injury. Employer contends Employee's July 30, 2009, work injury resolved by April 7, 2010. Consequently, Employer contends Employee is not entitled to further medical benefits to treat his right shoulder. Is Employee entitled to continuing medical treatment for his right shoulder? FINDINGS OF FACT A review of the entire record establishes the following facts by a preponderance of the evidence: 1) On July 30, 2009, Employee was injured while working as a garbage collector. Employee experienced the onset of right forearm pain after twisting his right forearm while lifting a trash can to dump trash into a truck. (Worker' compensation claim (WCC), July 15, 2010). 2) On August 18, 2009, T. Noah Laufer, M.D., treated Employee for right arm pain. Dr. Laufer performed an ultrasound of the right upper arm, which was normal. Employee's shoulder, elbow and wrist all had normal range of motion. Dr. Laufer diagnosed tendinitis expected to resolve on its own. (Chart Note, Dr. Laufer, August 18, 2009). 3) On August 28, 2009, at Employee's request, Dr. Laufer referred Employee to orthopedic surgeon Christopher J. Manion, M.D. (Chart Note, Dr. Laufer, August 28, 2009). 4) On September 28, 2009, Dr. Manion treated Employee for shoulder pain. Dr. Manion ordered a magnetic resonance arthrogram (MRA) of the right shoulder, which showed mild tendinosis of the supraspinatus with no frank tear and the superior labrum intact on all images. The cause of minimal tenderness of Employee's supraspinatus was a mild lateral downsloping of the acromion. (Chart Note, September 28, 2009; MRA, Harold Cable, M.D., September 30, 2009). 5) On October 19, 2009, Employee's pain complaints continued and Dr. Manion referred Employee to orthopedist Marc Kornmesser, M.D. Dr. Manion released Employee to light-duty work. (Chart Note, Dr. Manion, October 19, 2009). 6) On October 28, 2009, Dr. Kornmesser evaluated Employee, diagnosed interosseous nerve compression of the right elbow, and recommended physical therapy. (Chart Note, Dr. Kornmesser, October 28, 2009). 7) On January 7, 2010, Dr. Kornmesser performed a surgical release of the posterior interosseous nerve. (Operative Report, Dr. Kornmesser, January 7, 2010). 8) On April 7, 2010, despite Employee's continued pain complaints, Dr. Kornmesser recommended a permanent partial impairment (PPI) rating and recommended no further treatment. (Chart Note, Dr. Kornmesser, April 7, 2010). 9) On April 16, 2010, Sean Taylor, M.D., performed an electromyography (EMG) evaluation, which showed right wrist median nerve entrapment. Employee complained of neck pain but Dr, Taylor found no electrodiagnostic evidence of cervical radiculopathy although he recommended a cervical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan for certainty. The cervical MRI showed slight disc degeneration at C4-5 with no stenosis of the spinal canal or significant stenosis of the neural foramina at any level. (EMG Report, Dr. Taylor, April 16, 2010; MRI Report, Dr. Cable, April 19, 2010). 10) On May 13, 2010, Ilmar Soot, M.D., evaluated Employee for an employer's medical evaluation (EME) and diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis of the elbow and shoulder. Dr. Soot opined Employee's neck pain was most likely due to preexisting spondylosis, the work injury caused a temporary aggravation of the elbow and shoulder but noted that diagnostics did not reveal a level of injury that would explain the magnitude of complaints, and limitations exhibited by Employee were non-anatomic and unrelated to the work injury. Dr. Soot also opined the work injury was no longer the substantial cause of...

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