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L5-S1 Disc Herniation Found to be Work Related

The Claimant, a resident of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, suffered a work injury on February 19, 2008  while employed by Aramark, in the nature of lumbar injury occuring while he was lifting heavy trash bags when he felt sharp pain in his right leg and back.

He was seen at Harrisburg Hospital Emergency Room on February 21 and February 22, 2008 and also treated with Daniel Hely, M.D.  The IME at the request of the work comp insurance company was performed by Dr. Richard Schmidt.

The Claimant filed a Claim Petition on April 10, 2008 and sought total disability benefits from February 19,2008, litigation costs, and payment of medical bills and counsel fees, which went before Judge James P. Deeley in Harrisburg.

The Defendant issued a Notice of Compensation Denial on March 4, 2008, which indicated the Claimant did not suffer a work-related injury.

Dr. Daniel Hely felt there was a disconnect between his exams and Dr. Schmidt’s exams because Dr. Hely had performed a flexion and extension test of the spine and found the Claimant had nerve irritation and an acute disc rupture at the L5-S1 level.  Dr. Richard Schmidt had no documentation of those obective tests.  Dr. Schmidt also did not perform a straight leg test which is indicative of nerve root involvement at the L5-S1 level. Dr. Hely found that the Claimant suffered a herniated disc at the L5-S1 level.

The Judge found the testimony of Dr. Hely to be more persuasive than that of Dr. Schmidt. The Judge found the Claimant’s work injury is a herniated disc at the L5-S1 level.  The Claimant’s Claim Petition was granted.  The Defendant, ESIS Inc and Specialty Risk Services were ordered to pay the Claimant temporary partial disability benefits totaling $9, 280.50 from May 22, 2008 through October 28, 2008 and temporary total disability benefits effective October 29, 2008 and into the indefinite future, together with statutory interest and costs of $3,6178.15.  The Defendant, ESS Inc and Specialty Risk Services were further ordered to be resposible for the Claimant’s medical expenses.

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