Bonilla, 122818 ARWC, G702651

Docket Nº:G702651
Case Date:December 28, 2018
No. G702651
Arkansas Workers Compensation
Before the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission
December 28, 2018
         Hearing before ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE ERIC PAUL WELLS in Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas.           Claimant represented by MICHAEL L. ELLIG, Attorney at Law, Fort Smith, Arkansas.           Respondents represented by E. DIANE GRAHAM, Attorney at Law, Fort Smith, Arkansas.           ERIC PAUL WELLS, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE.          STATEMENT OF THE CASE          On October 4, 2018, the above captioned claim came on for a hearing at Fort Smith, Arkansas. A pre-hearing conference was conducted on August 29, 2018, and a Pre-hearing Order was filed on that same date. A copy of the Pre-hearing Order has been marked Commission's Exhibit No. 1 and made a part of the record without objection.          At the pre-hearing conference the parties agreed to the following stipulations:
1. The Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission has jurisdiction of this claim.
2. On all relevant dates, the relationship of employee-employer-carrier existed between the parties.
3. The claimant sustained a compensable gradual onset injury on January 11, 2017 to her left cubital tunnel syndrome and left small and middle fingers.
4. The claimant is entitled to a weekly compensation rate of $380.00 for temporary total disability and $285.00 for permanent partial disability.
         By agreement of the parties the issues to litigate are limited to the following: 1. Whether claimant is entitled to an additional permanent partial impairment rating of 13% to the upper extremity or at least 15% to the hand.          2. Whether claimant’s attorney is entitled to an attorney’s fee.          The claimant's contentions are as follows:
“The claimant contends that she has sustained a permanent impairment of 13% to the upper extremity or at least 15% to the hand and would be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits equivalent to such impairment. All permanent partial disability benefits in excess of 7.55 weeks have been controverted and the claimant's attorney is entitled to a statutory fee on such amounts.”
         The respondents’ contentions are as follows:
“As noted above, Respondent has accepted and paid the impairment rating assigned by Dr. Kelly of 30% to the little finger and 5% to the middle finger. Respondent denies that Claimant sustained a permanent impairment of 13% to the upper extremity.”
         The claimant in this matter is a 52-year-old female who suffered compensable injuries to her left small and middle fingers, along with left cubital tunnel syndrome on January 11, 2017. The respondent accepted the claimant’s claim and provided her treatment with Dr. Keith Bolyard. The claimant received treatment from Dr. Bolyard but was eventually referred to Dr. James Kelly at the Western Arkansas Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Following is a letter authored by Dr. Kelly written to Dr. Bolyard regarding the claimant dated March 6, 2017 found at Claimant’s Exhibit 1, Page 1:
Thank you very much for referring the patient for consultation. As you are aware, this is a pleasant 51-year-old female who is having some problems with her left hand. She states she gets tingling in the 5th finger, cramping in the hand. The pain radiates up the medial side of the elbow. She also states that she gets a lot of pain in the index DIP joint. In looking at her x-rays she has obvious osteoarthritic changes of the 2nd finger DIP joint and she needs a DIP arthrodesis for this to alleviate the pain.
She also had a positive Tinel’s and compression test of the elbow. She had a positive Tinel’s, compression and Phalen’s exam over the Guyon’s canal. Her two point discrimination was 5-7 mm in the ulnar distribution, 5 mm in the median distribution of the hand. Costal compression and cervical examination were all negative.
I believe that she also has cubital tunnel syndrome. I want to get nerve conduction studies and I will have a look at these and then make recommendations thereafterwards. Most likely we will recommend she would have cubital tunnel release and I can do the arthrodesis of the DIP joint at the same time. I

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