Articles & Updates

Michael Childers v. Metropolis Fire Department

by James. M. Gallen

Petitioner had three claims to his neck against respondent. The first claim, arising out of a 1999 injury was treated by a fusion at the C3-6 levels. Petitioner returned to work and settled that claim with medical closed.

Petitioner suffered two additional injuries, one each in 2004 and 2005.Treatment for those injuries included a disc replacement in August 2006. These cases were tried and resulted in an award of permanent partial disability.

Petitioner returned to the surgeon who performed the disc replacement with neck complaints in November 2012. He continued treatment for abnormalities which were associated with the C2-3 level. The prime issue in the case was whether the need for treatment to the C2-3 level was related to the 3 level fusion immediately below it or whether it was related to the 2004 and 2005 injuries which resulted in the disc replacement 4 levels below the C2-3 level. The treating physician testified that, while the fusion played a large role in the development of adjacent level failure at the level above the fusion, the disc replacement also contributed to the problem at the C2-3 level. Respondent’s examining physician opined that the complaints that originated at C2-3 resulted from idiopathic causes and degenerative changes unrelated to the 2004 and 2006 accident. He agreed with the treating physician that the complaints were related to the adjacent multi-level fusion performed prior to the 2004 and 2006 work accidents. The Commission found the examiner’s opinions more persuasive than those of the petitioner’s and denied the claim for additional medical expenses.

Jim Gallen represented the respondent.