In re Compensation of Pettigrove, 070219 ORWC, 18-00743

Docket Nº:WCB 18-00743
Case Date:July 02, 2019
71 Van Natta 691 (2019)
In the Matter of the Compensation of CHRISTINA L. PETTIGROVE, Claimant
WCB No. 18-00743
Oregon Worker Compensation
July 2, 2019
          Jodie Phillips Polich, Claimant Attorneys           Sather Byerly & Holloway, Defense Attorneys           Reviewing Panel: Members Woodford and Ousey.           ORDER ON REVIEW          Claimant requests review of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mills’s order that upheld the self-insured employer’s denial of her new/omitted medical condition claim for a lumbar radiculopathy condition. On review, the issue is compensability.          We adopt and affirm the ALJ’s order with the following supplementation.          Between October 31, 2016 and November 28, 2016, claimant received physical therapy treatment on four occasions. (Exs. 1, 2, 3, 4). She reported right leg pain from the hip to the top of the foot and numbness in the right side of her foot. She reported that the pain began after she caught her foot and fell. (Ex. 1). The physical therapist assessed right lumbar radiculopathy. (Id.)          On December 7, 2016, claimant fell at work while walking on a surface made slippery by de-icing spray. (Ex. 5). She sought treatment the same day, complaining of lower back pain. (Ex. 6-1). She was diagnosed with a lumbar strain. (Ex. 6-2).          On February 7, 2017, the employer accepted a lumbar strain. (Ex. 11).          Beginning in February 2017, claimant treated with Dr. Cribbs. (Ex. 10). She reported right sciatic pain and persistent tailbone pain. (Exs. 10, 18). On May 8, 2017, she reported worsening right sciatic pain and pain from the right hip to the right ankle. (Ex. 26-1). She did not report her prior injury, her previous symptoms, or her physical therapy treatment.          A May 10, 2017, MRI revealed an L5-S1 right central disc herniation impinging the right S1 nerve root. (Ex. 28).          On June 20, 2017, Dr. Kaesche examined claimant at the employer’s request. (Ex. 37). Based on the MRI, he diagnosed preexisting L5-S1 degenerative lumbar disease, as well as an L5-S1 disc herniation with right S1 [71 Van Natta 692] radiculopathy. (Ex. 37-10). He noted that claimant had symptoms following a radicular pattern from the date of the December 7, 2016, injury. (Ex. 37-12). He reasoned that the lack of sciatic symptoms prior to the date of injury and the onset of symptoms on the date of the work injury were consistent with the lumbar radiculopathy being the result of the December 7, 2017, work injury. (Id.) Thus, assuming a valid history, Dr. Kaesche concluded that the major contributing cause of claimant’s disability/need for treatment was the “development of S1 radiculopathy secondary to the fall superimposed upon preexisting degenerative disc disease at L5-S1.” (Ex. 37-13).          Dr. Cribbs concurred with Dr. Kaesche’s opinion on June 26, 2017. (Ex. 38).          On June 11, 2017, the employer modified its acceptance to include the L5-S1 disc herniation. (Ex. 40).          On November 9, 2017, claimant requested acceptance of lumbar radiculopathy. (Ex. 42). The employer denied the claim for that condition on January 18, 2017. (Ex. 44).          On February 3, 2018, Dr. McDonald examined claimant at the employer’s request. (Ex. 45). Claimant stated that her radicular symptoms began in...

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