ARKANSAS STATE MILITARY DEPARTMENT, PUBLIC EMPLOYEE CLAIMS DIVISION APPELLANT
ALLEN JACKSON APPELLEE
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
H. Montgomery, Public Employee Claims Division, for
Beth York, for appellee.
and Klappenbach, JJ., agree.
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge
the Arkansas State Military Department, Public Employee
Claims Division (ASMD), appeals an order of the Arkansas
Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) finding
that appellee, Allen Jackson, was entitled to a 37 percent
anatomical-impairment rating to the left lower extremity as
well as a 40 percent wage-loss award. ASMD contends that the
evidence submitted was insufficient to support the
Commission's award. We find no error and affirm.
Injury and Medical History
age 67, was employed as a history teacher by ASMD. He
suffered admittedly compensable lower back and left leg
injuries after a fall at work. At the time of his accident,
Jackson was suffering from post-polio syndrome which resulted
in paralysis of his right leg and partial paralysis of his
left leg. However, he had been ambulatory with the
use of a crutch and a leg brace and had been quite active
prior to the fall.
received medical care for his work-related injuries. Dr. John
Adametz treated Jackson initially and diagnosed him with hip
pain, a lumbar strain, and a strain of the left knee. When an
MRI revealed an acute compression fracture at L1 and a large
disc herniation at L4-5,  Dr. Adametz recommended surgery on
Jackson's back, but Jackson declined. Dr. Adametz
released Jackson to maximum medical improvement (MMI) on July
was treated by Dr. Eric Gordon for his knee injury. Dr.
Gordon noted left knee pain with effusion secondary to injury
and osteoarthritis; tibial plateau fracture lateral plateau,
nondisplaced and closed; patella baja; and a sprain. He also
noted a faulty general knee ligament, likely due to
Jackson's history of polio, and resulting muscular
weakness. Dr. Gordon aspirated the knee, but Jackson's
symptoms returned. Dr. Gordon recommended a total knee
arthroplasty, but Jackson declined this surgery as well.
Gordon released Jackson to MMI on August 16, 2016, with a
desk-work restriction. Based on objective measures and the
AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent
Impairment, Fourth Edition, Dr. Gordon opined that
Jackson had sustained a 37 percent impairment to the left
lower extremity which translates to a 15 percent impairment
to the whole person. Dr. Gordon ultimately concluded that 50
percent of Jackson's impairment rating was attributable
to his preexisting condition and 50 percent to his
was treated by Dr. Carlos Roman for pain management. As to
Jackson's knee, Dr. Roman noted that Jackson had cruciate
and collateral ligament laxity of a severe nature and that
any knee replacement surgery would be related to his
underlying arthritis. He deferred to Dr. Gordon's
assessment of impairment as it related to Jackson's knee
injury. As for his lumbar spine, Dr. Roman indicated that
Jackson had a compression fracture at L1 and a large disc
herniation laterally at L4-L5 superiorly with significant
rotation of the spine with possible foraminal narrowing at
that point. He observed a significant rotary scoliosis that
was degenerative in nature and not the result of the injury.
He also noted degenerative-disc disease associated with his
weak musculature. He opined that it was difficult to
differentiate the nerve pain and weakness associated with
Jackson's injury from that associated with his polio.
Additionally, he noted that degenerative-disc disease in
scoliosis, including disc bulges, was very common. Dr. Roman
stated that he did not think any further interventions or
procedures were indicated for Jackson's work-related
injury to his back. However, he then opined, to a reasonable
degree of medical certainty, that the L1 compression fracture
could be attributed to Jackson's workplace injury, that
Jackson suffered back pain from that, and that he had reached
MMI. He subsequently opined that Jackson had sustained a 5
percent impairment to the body as a whole as a result of his
request for a change of physician, Jackson was treated by Dr.
Vestal Smith. Dr. Smith opined that Jackson had sustained a 5
percent impairment rating for the lumbar compression
fracture; a 5 percent impairment rating for the degenerative
changes at L4-L5; and, when combined with Dr. Gordon's
assessment of 15 percent impairment of the whole person for
the lower extremity, that he had sustained a 23 percent
impairment of the whole person.