Appeal No. 2052603) (Claim No. 2017027671)
David Radford, by Reginald D. Henry, his attorney, appeals
the decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation
Board of Review. Panther Creek Mining, LLC, by Sean Harter,
its attorney, filed a timely response.
issues on appeal are medical benefits and additional
compensable conditions. The claims administrator denied the
addition of neck pain, shoulder pain, and radiculopathy with
numbness and burning in the arms and hands to the claim on
June 20, 2017. On April 11, 2017, the claims administrator
denied authorization of a neurosurgical referral. Finally, on
May 3, 2017, it denied authorization of the medication
Gabapentin. The Office of Judges affirmed the decisions in
its February 21, 2018, Order. The Order was affirmed by the
Board of Review on August 17, 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
Radford, a shuttle car operator, was injured in the course of
his employment on October 26, 2016. The Employees' and
Physicians' Report of Injury completed that day indicates
he was injured when he was caught on a cable, flipped into
the air, and landed on his back. He reported injuries to his
head and elbows. The physician's section was completed at
Raleigh General Hospital and indicated diagnoses of scalp
hematoma, scalp laceration, and possible concussion. The
treatment note from Raleigh General Hospital that day
indicates Mr. Radford had painless cervical range of motion
on examination. His upper and lower extremities were normal.
A cervical x-ray showed a large lipoma on the left and facet
arthropathy from C3 to C7. A brain CT scan was normal.
hours prior to the compensable injury, Mr. Radford was seen
for a checkup with his regular physician, Chris Kincaid, M.D.
He reported no pain. Dr. Kincaid's diagnoses were
resolved flank pain, resolved arm injury, improved left wrist
pain, and left arm pain. The following day, the
Employer's Report of Occupational Injury was completed
and indicates Mr. Radford sustained a laceration and
contusion to the head when he was pulled off of his feet by a
cable. An incident investigation report was also completed
that day and indicates Mr. Radford sustained a laceration and
contusion to his head. He was given first aid in the mine and
sent to the surface for further evaluation.
Radford saw Dr. Kincaid on October 28, 2016, and reported
pain in his head, neck, and upper back. Physical examination
showed tenderness in the cervical spine. The upper
extremities were found to be normal. Dr. Kincaid diagnosed
concussion and recurring headaches. On November 1, 2016, Mr.
Radford was seen for follow up and reported no pain. He had
returned to work and stated that he had no numbness or
tingling in his arms. Physical examination of the neck was
normal. On November 30, 2016, Mr. Radford reported that he
had returned to his normal work activities with no problem.
Physical examination of his neck was normal. Dr. Kincaid
found that Mr. Radford had healed from his compensable injury
and required no further ongoing care. On March 1, 2017, Mr.
Radford returned to Dr. Kincaid with complaints of a recent
onset of pain in his lower arms as well as decreased
dexterity and weakness in his hands. Mr. Radford also
reported joint pain in his lateral epicondyles, wrists, and
thumbs. An assessment of the neck was normal. Dr. Kincaid
diagnosed numbness of the hand, lateral epicondylitis, and
wrist joint pain. He ordered an EMG. On March 15, 2017, Mr.
Radford was seen for pain in his arms, neck, and shoulders.
He reported numbness, weakness, and tingling in his hands and
arms. It was noted that he had recently hit his head on the
roof of a cab at work. Dr. Kincaid diagnosed post-concussion
syndrome, cervical radiculopathy, lateral epicondylitis, and
claim was held compensable for contusion and laceration to
the head on November 10, 2016. On March 16, 2017, the claims
administrator authorized a neurological referral and an EMG.
The EMG was performed on March 28, 2017, and revealed
moderate bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. It showed no
evidence of cervical radiculopathy. A cervical MRI was
performed on March 29, 2017, and showed narrowing of the
foramina at C3-4, C4-5, C5-6, and C6-7.
Radford returned to Dr. Kincaid on April 5, 2017, and again
reported numbness and tingling in his arms as well as pain in
his wrists, arms, and shoulders. His symptoms had not
improved with medication. Dr. Kincaid recommended referral to
a neurosurgeon. His diagnoses were wrist joint pain, lateral
epicondylitis, traumatic and/or non-traumatic injury,
cervical radiculopathy, and neck pain.
claims administrator denied authorization of a neurosurgical
referral on April 11, 2017. On May 3, 2017, it denied
authorization of Gabapentin. Dr. Kincaid completed a
diagnosis update on May 16, 2017, in which he requested that
neck pain, shoulder pain, and cervical radiculopathy with
numbness and burning in the arms and hands be added to the
claim. The request was based on Mr. Radford's complaints.
It was noted that he had no objective limitations on physical
May 16, 2017, letter, Dr. Kincaid stated that he had no
evidence that Mr. Radford's current symptoms are the
result of his compensable injury but he did not have these
symptoms prior to the injury. He stated that if Mr. Radford
is actually having the symptoms he describes, they are
related to the compensable injury. The claims administrator
denied the addition of neck pain, shoulder pain, and
radiculopathy with numbness and burning in the arms and hands
to the claim on June 20, 2017.
Mukkamala, M.D., performed an independent medical evaluation
on July 5, 2017, in which he found that physical examination
of Mr. Radford's head, neck, and upper extremities were
normal. Dr. Mukkamala opined that the compensable injury
resulted in a contusion and scalp laceration. He found no
credible, objective medical evidence to support Mr.
Radford's reported symptoms of neck and shoulder pain. He
also found no credible evidence of neurological defects to
explain his reports of numbness and burning in his hands and
arms. Dr. Mukkamala found no objective basis to causally
relate Mr. Radford's upper extremity symptoms to the
compensable injury. Dr. Mukkamala concluded that he had
reached maximum medical improvement and required no further
20, 2017, Mr. Radford testified in a deposition that three
weeks after his compensable injury he developed pain in both
hands and started having problems with dexterity. His
symptoms worsened and he stopped working on March 14, 2017.
Mr. Radford denied any prior injury to his head, neck, or
shoulders. He also denied any additional injuries after the
compensable one. Mr. Radford stated that he was seen by Dr.
Kincaid for a regular checkup hours prior to his compensable
injury on October 26, 2016, and received a clean bill of
health. Mr. Radford testified that he was in a car accident
in July of 2015, received some x-rays, and had no further
treatment. In December of 2012, he sprained his left wrist.
August 8, 2017, Mr. Radford applied for workers'
compensation benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome. On
September 7, 2017, Mr. Radford was evaluated by John
Orphanos, M.D., for neck pain, bilateral arm pain, and
numbness. Dr. Orphanos read the cervical MRI as showing
multilevel degenerative disc disease, facet arthropathy,
spurring causing narrowing from C4-C7, and neural foraminal
narrowing at C3-4. He diagnosed cervical spondylosis with
radiculopathy and bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. On
October 19, 2017, Mr. Radford reported ...