DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/16/2012.
TRIBUNAL FROM WHICH APPEALED: MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION.
FOR APPELLANT: STEVEN D. SLADE.
FOR APPELLEE: JOHN HUNTER STEVENS.
BEFORE LEE, C.J., ROBERTS AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. BARNES, J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.
[¶1] This appeal proceeds from a Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission order granting a claimant's motion to compel payment of medical treatment relating to a kidney condition caused by medication taken for an admittedly compensable lung injury. Finding no error, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
[¶2] On October 6, 1997, the claimant, Larry B. Harris, inhaled materials under a building while installing cables in the course of his employment with BellSouth Telecommunications Inc. (BellSouth). BellSouth provided compensation benefits to Harris for the pulmonary (lung) condition caused by the inhalation. Nevertheless, on December 12, 2000, Harris filed a petition to controvert, and a full hearing on the merits was conducted on February 20, 2009, before an administrative judge (AJ).
[¶3] The parties stipulated that Harris, acting in the course and scope of his employment with BellSouth on October 6, 1997, was involved in a work-related incident, which ultimately resulted in a respiratory condition. Remaining issues to be decided were: (1) the existence/extent of temporary disability, if any; (2) existence/extent of permanent disability and/or loss of wage-earning capacity, if any; and (3) reasonableness/necessity of certain medical treatment. On September 10, 2009, the AJ entered an order finding that Harris suffered no permanent disability and/or loss of wage-earning capacity from his respiratory-inhalation injury and was not entitled to additional temporary disability benefits.
[¶4] On March 1, 2010, the Commission amended the AJ's order and found that Harris was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits. The Commission also ordered BellSouth and its carrier to continue to provide and pay for all reasonable and necessary medical services and treatment in accordance with Mississippi Code Annotated section 71-3-15 (Supp. 2014). BellSouth did not appeal the Commission's decision and provided compensation benefits to Harris.
[¶5] During the course of Harris's treatment for his compensable lung injury, he was prescribed certain medications, including amphotericin B. Dr. Murphy S. Martin, a nephrologist and treating physician, opined that the amphotericin B caused complications with Harris's kidney, which required kidney medication. Harris requested medical payments from BellSouth's carrier for the medication prescribed for Harris's renal (kidney) insufficiency diagnosed by Dr. Martin. However, BellSouth's carrier denied payment despite Harris's insistence that his
renal insufficiency was causally related to his lung injury.
[¶6] On November 7, 2011, BellSouth filed a motion for an employer's medical examination (EME) to be performed by Dr. Wilson Parry under Mississippi Code Annotated section 71-3-15. On December 19, 2011, Harris filed a motion to compel payment of certain medical treatment and response to BellSouth's motion for an EME. A hearing was conducted before the AJ on the competing motions. On April 16, 2012, the AJ ordered BellSouth and its carrier to provide all medical benefits regarding Harris's treatment, including medication as opined by Dr. Martin to be related to his initial lung injury at work.
[¶7] BellSouth filed a petition for review. The sole issue on review was the causal relationship of Harris's kidney and other problems to his initial work-related lung injury. More than a month after the AJ ruled in Harris's favor, BellSouth gave notice on May 22, 2012, that it retained Dr. Parry to review Harris's medical records and give an opinion on the central question of causation, even though the record had been closed. A hearing before the Commission was held on July 16, 2012.
[¶8] Following the hearing, on October 18, 2012, BellSouth submitted a supplementation to its brief of law and fact containing Dr. Parry's opinion as additional evidence to be considered. Dr. Parry concluded that the medication did not cause or had very little impact on Harris's renal insufficiency. Harris filed a motion to strike the supplementation, which was granted by the Commission, and it was given no ...