APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION. NO. G006583.
Bill E. Bracey, Jr., for appellant.
Michael E. Ryburn, for appellee.
ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge. PITTMAN and WYNNE, JJ., agree.
ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge
Appellant Roberto Jaramillo appeals from the January 21, 2014 decision of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission that reversed and dismissed the September 18, 2013 opinion of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and found that appellant failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that his umbilical hernia is the compensable consequence of a work-related incident of September 7, 2008. Appellant argues that the Commission again erred in finding that he failed to prove that he suffered a compensable injury and in finding that appellee Systems Contracting is not responsible for workers'
compensation benefits associated therewith. We find no error and affirm.
On September 7, 2008, appellant fell at work when a forklift swung a heavy pipe into his feet, knocking him backwards. Appellant maintains that when he reported this incident to his supervisor, he was placed on light duty. Appellant denies that he was ever offered medical treatment by appellee and claims that he could not seek contemporaneous medical treatment because a lay-off shortly after the incident caused him to lose his private health insurance.
The record reveals that appellant first sought medical treatment for his alleged injury on August 4, 2009. Records from the Regional Medical Center at Memphis reveal that he reported to the emergency room on that date, complaining of chest, abdomen, and pelvic pain. An emergency room triage report indicates that appellant reported injuring his left shoulder six months earlier as the result of a work-related accident. Numerous diagnostic studies taken during appellant's brief hospital stay showed no acute findings in appellant's pelvic, abdominal, or chest areas. Observed by these studies, however, were the following chronic conditions: cardiomegaly with left-ventricular hypertrophy; cholelithiasis without evidence of cholecystitis; and, diverticulosis without evidence of diverticulitis. Further, a small umbilical hernia comprised of fatty tissue was noted. Appellant's discharge instructions, dated August 5, 2009, reveal that he was instructed to follow-up with the surgery center for a consultation in two weeks concerning elective hernia-repair surgery.
Appellant maintains that he was discharged by appellee following his August 4, 2009 trip to the emergency room. Appellant agreed, however, that he worked for appellee after the September 7, 2008 incident up until that time, subject to periods of lay-off.
The record reflects that appellant returned to the Regional Medical Center Medplex clinic on September 3, 2009. Notes from that encounter indicate that appellant presented with complaints of intermittent, sharp, stabbing, abdominal pain. These notes also show that appellant's umbilical hernia was small, non-tender to palpation, and " always reducible." Appellant was instructed to lose weight, then return to the Medplex clinic in two-to-three months for further surgical evaluation. In the meantime, appellant was advised to seek medical attention if his hernia became irreducible or painful, or if he became symptomatic. Appellant also was scheduled for an evaluation with a urologist.
A Medplex clinic note dated November 12, 2009, shows that appellant was assessed with a testicular mass in addition to his hernia. Upon his January 19, 2010 follow-up appointment at the Medplex clinic, it was noted that he would need a referral from a primary-care provider for his urology appointment. A clinic note dated March 25, 2010, shows that appellant was scheduled at the GT clinic for a colonoscopy on April 20, 2010. The report of that study reflects that appellant's ...