By Steven Babitsky, Esq.

The court in, Rodriguez v. WORKERS’  COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD, PA: Commonwealth Court 2013, dealt with a claimant who fell at work and sustained a menisci tear in her right knee. The issue was whether the fall aggravated the degenerative condition in her knee.

The court upheld the finding of the IME physician who found that the MRIs performed before and after the accident showed no substantial change in the condition of her knee.

The court stated:

Employer also offered the deposition testimony of Robert Mauthe, M.D., who is board certified in physical medicine, rehabilitation medicine, and electrodiagnostic medicine. Dr. Mauthe testified that he performed an independent medical examination of Claimant on February 9, 2011. Dr. Mauthe testified that Claimant began seeing Dr. Cook prior to her work-related injury and routinely received corticosteroid injections into her knees and anti-inflammatory medications to treat arthritis/arthrochondrosis. Examining MRIs taken before and after Claimant’s work-related injury, Dr. Mauthe noted that there was degeneration in Claimant’s knees and observed that there was no substantial change from her pre-to-post injury MRIs. In addition, Dr. Mauthe reviewed the operative report of Dr. Canner and noted that Claimant’s ACL was intact and that there was no finding of acute trauma. Based upon Claimant’s medical records and his physical examination, Dr. Mauthe stated that Claimant’s work-related injury was a contusion of the right knee; Claimant did not sustain any injury to her left knee as a result of the March 3, 2009 fall; the fall did not aggravate Claimant’s pre-existing degenerative arthritis in both knees or cause any tears in the menisci of both knees; and Claimant did not suffer an injury to her back or hips that would be related to the fall. From these premises, Dr. Mauthe opined that Claimant made a full and complete recovery from the right knee contusion; Claimant’s current complaints are the direct result of her pre-existing and longstanding arthritic condition; Claimant requires neither medical treatment nor any restrictions due to the March 3, 2009 injury; and Claimant is capable of performing her time of injury job as a pre-sorter. (WCJ’s Finding of Fact No. 9.)

Steven Babitsky, Esq. will be one of the instructors at the SEAK IME Skills for Physicians: The Master’s Program which will be held on September 21-22, 2013 in Falmouth, MA.