Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
from the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission
M. Hess, Judge.
Glass USA, Inc. and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company of
America (together "Employer") appeal the final
award of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (the
"Commission") awarding Travis Wilkins
("Claimant") temporary total disability benefits,
permanent partial disability benefits, and compensation for
past medical expenses. Employer argues that the Commission
erred in: 1) determining that Claimant sustained a
compensable injury; 2) determining that Claimant's
development and treatment for his staph infection was
medically related to his work-related injury; and 3)
admitting medical bills into evidence not properly identified
by Claimant. Finding no error, we affirm.
and Procedural Background
began working for Employer as a machinist in March 2013.
Claimant's job duties at the time of his injury included
working on Employer's bottle-forming machines and pulling
mechanisms. On December 6, 2014, Claimant was on a catwalk in
Employer's factory changing a spool valve. To change the
valve, he had to enter an awkward squatting position. When
Claimant stood up he felt a painful pop or tear in the back
of his leg.
pain caused Claimant to sit down for several minutes. He
eventually stood, but he continued to experience pain for the
next few days. On December 9, 2014, he met with
Employer's nurse, Jenger Hickman, who advised him to seek
treatment for his leg pain.
went to Parkland Health Center that same day. The doctor who
examined Claimant recommended that he follow-up with a
workers' compensation doctor. Ms. Hickman then sent
Claimant to Dr. Richard Hulsey, who served as Claimant's
Employer authorized treating physician. Dr. Hulsey first saw
Claimant on December 11, 2014. Dr. Hulsey observed tenderness
over the back of Claimant's left calf muscle and ordered
an MRI of Claimant's leg. After reviewing the MRI, Dr.
Hulsey diagnosed Claimant with a tear to his left calf
muscle. He also noted there was a hematoma in Claimant's
left calf. Claimant was given anti- inflammatories and pain
medication, and sent to physical therapy at Farmington Sports
Claimant's first physical therapy appointment on December
23, 2014, the pain in his leg intensified and his calf
swelled. He returned to Parkland Health Center on December
24, 2014. On December 25, 2014, Claimant was evaluated at
Missouri Baptist Hospital. Tests revealed that Claimant's
white blood cell count was high, indicating an infection. An
MRI also demonstrated he still had a hematoma in his left
calf. An aspiration was performed on the hematoma, which
revealed that Claimant's leg was infected with staph.
December 30, 2014, Dr. Hulsey saw Claimant in the hospital.
He performed an incision and drainage of Claimant's
hematoma. Claimant followed up with an infectious disease
specialist, who recommended oral antibiotics.
was released from the hospital on January 2, 2015, and
remained off work until February 4, 2015. Dr. Hulsey
recommended that Claimant work only in a sit-down position
beginning February 5, 2015. Claimant continued physical
therapy, and on March 5, 2015, Dr. Hulsey examined Claimant
and determined that he was at maximum medical improvement.
4, 2015, Dr. Dwight Woiteshek performed an independent
medical examination on Claimant. He observed that Claimant
experienced pain and tenderness during deep palpation of
Claimant's left calf. He noted a ten percent decrease in
the range of motion of Claimant's knee, and atrophy in
Claimant's thigh and calf muscles. He opined that
Claimant's work-related injury was the prevailing factor
in the initial injury to the left calf muscle, the hematoma,
and the subsequent staph infection. Dr. Woiteshek also opined
that Claimant' surgery and treatments were reasonable and
necessary to cure the effects of his work-related injury. Dr.
Woiteshek calculated Claimant's overall disability to be
thirty-five percent permanent partial disability of his lower
extremity rated at the 160 week level.
4, 2015, Claimant was seen by Dr. Michael Burns at the
request of Employer. Dr. Burns opined that Claimant suffered
a calf muscle strain and hematoma while working on December
6, 2014. He opined that the subsequent infection was due to a
combination of Claimant's diabetes and a sore on his
ankle which Claimant suffered on December 4, 2014-not from
the calf muscle tear he sustained at work. Dr. Burns opined
that Claimant had a five percent partial disability rating in
is lower leg.
April 2016, a hearing was held before the administrative law
judge (ALJ) to determine whether Claimant was entitled to a
final award. Claimant testified he still experienced a dull
pain in the back of his calf when walking up inclines or
squatting. He also testified the pain limited his ability to
hunt and climb stairs. He testified the pain sometimes
bothered him at work, and he occasionally took ibuprofen or
Tylenol to manage the pain. He testified Employer transferred
him to a less strenuous position, which had come with a small
also stated he had cellulitis around a month-and-a-half
before he tore his calf muscle. He acknowledged having a sore
on his ankle prior to his staph infection, but testified that
the sore healed before his injury on December 6, 2014.
Hickman also testified. She testified that she observed a
sore on Claimant's ankle on December 4, 2014, but ...