United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
DAVID D. NOCE, Magistrate Judge.
This action is before the court for judicial review of the final decision of defendant Commissioner of Social Security denying the application of plaintiff Catherine Thompson for supplemental security income benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act), 42 U.S.C. § 1381, et seq. The parties have consented to the exercise of plenary authority by the undersigned United Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 636(c). For the reasons set forth below, the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is affirmed.
Plaintiff Catherine Thompson, who was born in 1966, filed an application for Title XVI benefits on January 4, 2011. (Tr. 162-67.) She alleged a disability onset date of March 2, 2010, due to auditory hallucinations, severe depression and suicidal thoughts, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, chronic headaches, and dizzy spells. (Tr. 230.) Her application was denied initially on March 29, 2011, and she requested a hearing before an ALJ. (Tr. 100-04, 109-11.)
On August 24, 2012, following a hearing, the ALJ found that plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. 6-22.) On November 14, 2013, the Appeals Council denied her request for review. (Tr. 1-4.) Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner.
II. MEDICAL HISTORY
On September 5, 2004, plaintiff met with Muha Azharuddin, M.D., at Pemiscot Memorial Hospital in Hayti, Missouri, with a chief complaint of a headache. She reported that her headache was extreme, and that she was seeing black spots. Plaintiff further reported that she had run out of Fioricet, used to treat tension headaches. Plaintiff was prescribed Darvocet N for pain. (Tr. 394.) On September 8, 2004, plaintiff was seen at Pemiscot Primary Care Center stating that she needed refills for headache medication. (Tr. 460.)
On February 16, 2005, plaintiff met with Abdullah Arshad, M.D., at Pemiscot Memorial Hospital with complaints of severe headache and associated distress, photophobia (sensitivity to light), and phonophobia (sensitivity to loud sounds). Plaintiff reported that she had run out of Fioricet. Dr. Arshad refilled her Fioricet prescription. Dr. Arshad diagnosed "disabling migraine headaches" and hypertension. (Tr. 456.) Plaintiff was seen at Pemiscot Memorial Hospital two more times for her migraines during February 2004. (Tr. 391, 455.)
On March 16, 2005, plaintiff met with Dr. Arshad for follow-up. He diagnosed migraines and hypertension. Dr. Arshad informed plaintiff that he could not prescribe more Fioricet "until it's time" and scheduled a follow-up. Plaintiff saw Dr. Arshad again on April 5, 2005 and he refilled her Fioricet prescriptions. (Tr. 453-54.)
On April 5, 2005, plaintiff saw Dr. Arshad for her migraine headaches and to request a Fioricet refill. (Id.)
On May 6, 2005, plaintiff was admitted to Pemiscot Memorial Hospital for epistaxis (bloody nose), migraine headaches, and uncontrolled hypertension. She was started on pain medication for her headaches and her epistaxis was controlled. A CT scan of the brain found no significant abnormalities. Dr. Arshad noted that he suspected plaintiff was abusing her pain medication. She was discharged the following day. (Tr. 411-13, 421.)
On May 8, 2005, plaintiff was admitted again to Pemiscot Memorial Hospital for epistaxis, severe migraines, uncontrolled hypertension, and depression. Her headaches and blood pressure were brought under good control and she was discharged the following day. Dr. Arshad noted that he questioned the objectivity of her complaints. (Tr. 465-67.)
Plaintiff saw Dr. Arshad on May 26, 2005 for follow-up. Plaintiff still had headaches and was unable to afford Fioricet at that time. (Tr. 450.) Plaintiff was seen nine more times for her headaches during 2005. (Tr. 362, 442-46, 448, 450, 523, 531.)
Plaintiff saw doctors seventeen times regarding her headaches in 2006. (Tr. 340-42, 355-56, 437-43, 463, 472-73.) She underwent four CT scans of her head in 2006, all of which were normal. (Tr. 471-74.)
On January 14, 2007, plaintiff was seen in the Pemiscot Memorial Hospital emergency room for a migraine headache. A CT scan revealed no significant abnormalities. (Tr. 292-93.) Plaintiff sought medical treatment for her headaches approximately five times during 2007. (Tr. 427-31, 541, 546.)
On November 26, 2007, plaintiff was seen at Saint Louis University Care for counseling for depression. She denied any auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations at that time. (Tr. 580-82.)
During 2008, plaintiff sought treatment for her headaches four times. (Tr. 424-26, 549.)
On June 6, 2009, plaintiff was seen at Barnes Jewish Hospital emergency room in St. Louis, Missouri, complaining of a migraine headache after running out of her Fioricet two days earlier. (Tr. 558-63.)
On January 24, 2010, plaintiff was seen in the Barnes Jewish Hospital emergency room complaining of a headache after running out of her migraine medication. (Tr. 584, 588-90.)
On February 27 and October 25, 2010, plaintiff saw Lavert Morrow, M.D., for headaches. Dr. Morrow prescribed butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine tablets, the generic equivalent of Fioricet. Plaintiff denied any additional symptoms in association with her headaches (Tr. 652-53.)
On January 29, 2011, plaintiff was seen at the emergency department at Barnes Jewish Hospital for a headache after running out of medication. She denied any additional symptoms in association with her headache. (Tr. 852-57.)
Plaintiff saw Dr. Morrow on February 4 and March 21, 2011. He noted that her headaches returned if she was out of medication for two weeks. Dr. Morrow diagnosed tension headaches and hypertension, and prescribed butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine. Plaintiff described ...