Appeal No. 2052660) (Claim No. 2016029362)
Roger Buckland, by Reginald D. Henry, his attorney, appeals
the decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation
Board of Review. City of Charleston, by James W. Heslep, its
attorney, filed a timely response.
issue on appeal is the addition compensable conditions to the
claim. The claims administrator denied the addition of
neuralgia and neuritis to the claim on May 19, 2017. The
Office of Judges affirmed the decision in its February 6,
2018, Order. The Order was affirmed by the Board of Review on
July 20, 2018.
Court has carefully reviewed the records, written arguments,
and appendices contained in the briefs, and the case is
mature for consideration. The facts and legal arguments are
adequately presented, and the decisional process would not be
significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of
the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented,
the Court finds no substantial question of law and no
prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision
is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate
Buckland, a laborer, was injured in the course of his
employment on May 18, 2016, when a dolly fell on his right
foot. A treatment note from MedExpress that day indicates he
was seen for a right foot injury. He reported that a dolly
holding 750 pounds of paint dropped on his foot at work. A
right ankle x-ray showed no bone abnormality. He was
diagnosed with right foot contusion. The Employees' and
Physicians' Report of Injury was completed that day as
well and indicates Mr. Buckland injured his right foot when a
dolly fell on it. The diagnosis was listed as contusion of
lower limb. The claim was held compensable for contusions of
the thigh, right foot, and ankle.
of the right lower extremity was performed on June 30, 2016,
and indicated hematoma and soft tissue injury in the right
ankle and soft tissue edema and degenerative changes in the
foot. Mr. Buckland underwent physical therapy. Treatment
notes by Mark Henrich, P.T., indicate Mr. Buckland's
chief complaint was right ankle pain. It was noted that he
August 30, 2016, treatment note, Carrie Gosselink, D.P.M.,
noted that Mr. Buckland presented with right foot pain. It
was noted that he sustained a work injury in May of 2016 in
which a metal pole fell on the right foot. An MRI showed
calcaneal coalition and he was placed in a cam walker. Mr.
Buckland also reported numbness in his toes. Dr. Gosselink
diagnosed other specified injuries of the right lower leg,
neuralgia and neuritis, right foot contusion, and localized
swelling. An EMG was ordered for neuralgia/neuritis.
was performed on September 28, 2016, by Glenn Goldfarb, M.D.,
which showed polyneuropathy in both legs. On October 5, 2016,
Mr. Buckland returned to Dr. Gosselink and reported that he
had developed right big toe pain. He was diagnosed with
ingrown toenail and it was noted that proper diabetic foot
care was discussed. Mr. Buckland was then seen by Clark
Adkins, M.D., on October 27, 2016. Mr. Buckland reported
difficulty walking and a significant amount of swelling, as
well as persistent numbness. It was noted that the x-rays
show a tarsal coalition. Dr. Adkins diagnosed other specified
injuries of the right lower leg and neuralgia and neuritis.
Mukkamala, M.D., performed an independent medical evaluation
on November 16, 2016, in which he noted that the compensable
condition was crush injury to the right foot. He found that
Mr. Buckland needed no further treatment. He noted that Mr.
Buckland had noncompensable pitting edema of both lower legs.
Dr. Mukkamala opined that though Mr. Buckland was likely
unable to return to full duty, this was not due to the
compensable injury. He noted noncompensable comorbid
conditions in the form of neuropathy and peripheral edema. He
also noted that though Mr. Buckland had swelling in both
legs, there was slightly more swelling in the right ankle.
Dr. Mukkamala opined that the swelling was, for the most
part, not related to the compensable injury because it was
present in both legs. Dr. Mukkamala assessed 3% whole person
Buckland returned to Dr. Gosselink on November 16, 2016, for
chronic right foot and ankle pain and swelling secondary to a
work-related crush injury. The assessment was other specified
injuries of the right lower leg, neuralgia, and neuritis. Mr.
Buckland had shown minimal improvement with medication and
physical therapy. On December 7, 2016, the diagnoses remained
the same. Dr. Gosselink noted that crush injuries often lead
to long-term nerve damage and pain. She further noted that
though Mr. Buckland had neuropathy prior to the compensable
injury, he had a long history of functioning without problem
while performing his job duties. Dr. Gosselink therefore
concluded that the worsening of the neuropathy and pain was
due to the compensable injury.
Gosselink completed a diagnosis update on December 30, 2016,
requesting that other specified injuries of the right lower
leg and neuralgia and neuritis be added to the claim. The
claims administrator denied the request on May 19, 2017. On
June 14, 2017, Dr. Gosselink took Mr. Buckland off of work
for six months due to neuralgia and neuritis, other specified
injury of the right lower leg, and congenital deformities of
the feet. She treated him again on August 31, 2017, and
opined that he had post-traumatic pain, swelling, and
neuralgia due to his compensable injury. She stated that she
has no documentation in her records showing evidence of
neuralgia prior to the compensable injury.
Office of Judges affirmed the claims administrator's
denial of the addition of neuralgia and neuritis to the claim
in its February 6, 2018, Order. It found that a preponderance
of the evidence shows that Mr. Buckland has neuropathy in
both legs, which is a symptoms of diabetes. He was found to
have regularly reported neuropathy since the date of the
injury. Further, an EMG showed polyneuropathy in both legs.
Also, Dr. Gosselink, Mr. Buckland's podiatrist, has
provided wound and diabetic foot care instructions to him for
conditions unrelated to the compensable injury. The Office of
Judges found that Dr. Gosselink failed to consider a causal
relationship between Mr. Buckland's diabetes and the
cause of his neuralgia and neuritis and also failed to
explain why the polyneuropathy is present in both the injured
and uninjured leg. The Office of Judges concluded that Dr.
Mukkamala's report was the most persuasive of record. He
reviewed the records, interviewed Mr. Buckland, and
physically examined him. Dr. Mukkamala found that Mr.
Buckland had reached maximum medical improvement for the
compensable injury and that the neuropathy was unrelated to
the compensable injury. The Board of Review adopted the
findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Office of
Judges and affirmed its Order on July 20, 2018.
review, we agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the
Office of Judges as affirmed by the Board of Review. Though
Mr. Buckland sustained a compensable crush injury to his
right lower extremity, the evidence indicates that his
neuritis and neuralgia are the result of diabetes rather than
the compensable injury. Most compelling is the fact that he
has the condition in both the injured and uninjured leg,
indicating the cause is not the compensable injury.
foregoing reasons, we find that the decision of the Board of
Review is not in clear violation of any constitutional or
statutory provision, nor is it clearly the result of
erroneous conclusions of law, nor is it based upon a material
misstatement or mischaracterization of the ...