Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Baxter Regional Medical Center v. Ferris

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

December 12, 2018

BAXTER REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER AND RISK MANAGEMENT RESOURCES APPELLANTS
v.
LAQUITA FERRIS APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO. G500916]

          Walter A. Murray Law Firm, P.A., by: Walter Murray, for appellants.

          Frederick S. "Rick" Spencer, for appellee.

          PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, JUDGE

         Baxter Regional Medical Center (BRMC) appeals from a decision of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission ("the Commission") finding that appellee Laquita Ferris proved her entitlement to additional medical treatment for her compensable injury to her left knee. BRMC argues that the Commission's decision is not supported by substantial evidence. We affirm.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Ferris was employed by BRMC as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and had worked there for eleven years before her injury. Although she previously had problems with her left knee, including five surgeries, she had not experienced any major problems with it, other than occasional swelling, since 2008. In February 2015, Ferris was assisting a patient when she tripped over an IV cord and felt her knee "pop." She was later diagnosed as having dislocated her patella.

         BRMC accepted her initial injury as compensable and paid for her medical care while she sought treatment for her knee. Ferris underwent a patellofemoral ligament reconstruction surgery in May 2015, which did not provide her with much relief. She obtained a change of physician and began seeing Dr. Christopher Arnold in October 2015. Dr. Arnold provided Ferris medical treatments that ranged from cortisone shots and arthroscopic lysis of adhesions to viscosupplementation. When the various treatments and procedures failed to provide her with relief, Dr. Arnold recommended that Ferris undergo an osteoarticular autograft-patella (OATS) procedure in conjunction with a tibial tubercle osteotomy. BRMC refused to approve this procedure, which resulted in Ferris's obtaining an independent medical examination (IME) from Dr. Charles Pearce. After a brief examination, Dr. Pearce concluded that the OATS procedure would not be "reasonable or helpful" for Ferris and concluded that such treatment "would not be because of her Workers' Compensation injury."

         An administrative law judge (ALJ) held a hearing on Ferris's claim. The ALJ considered the competing medical opinions from Drs. Arnold and Pearce. The ALJ found the medical opinion of Dr. Arnold, who was Ferris's treating physician, more credible than that of Dr. Pearce. The ALJ also considered testimony from Cheryl Edwards, Ferris's charge nurse when she worked at BRMC, and from Ferris. The ALJ concluded that Ferris and Edwards had "credibly testified" that Ferris had not been having problems with her knee before the February 2015 incident. Finally, the ALJ found that the fact that Ferris had some preexisting problems with her left knee was not problematic because the 2015 injury constituted an aggravation of a preexisting injury. The ALJ concluded as follows:

The evidence at bar establishes that the tripping over the IV cord on February 1, 2015 aggravated Claimant's preexisting left knee condition. The evidence shows that the surgery proposed by Dr. Arnold is causally related to her compensable injury. Consequently, Claimant has proven her entitlement to this treatment at Respondents' expense by a preponderance of the evidence.

[Citation omitted.] BRMC appealed to the full Commission, which in a 2-1 decision adopted and affirmed the ALJ's opinion. BRMC timely appealed the Commission's decision, and it now argues that the Commission's decision is not supported by substantial evidence.

         II. Standard of Review

         Our court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commission's decision and affirms the decision if it is supported by substantial evidence. Pratt v. Rheem Mfg., 2013 Ark.App. 577. Substantial evidence exists if reasonable minds could reach the Commission's conclusion. Id. Normally, we review only the decision of the Commission, not that of the ALJ. Queen v. Nortel Networks, Inc., 2012 Ark.App. 188, at 3. When, however, as here, the Commission affirms and adopts the ALJ's opinion, thereby making the findings and conclusions of the ALJ the Commission's findings ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.