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Harmon v. Industrial Commission

Supreme Court of Arizona

June 15, 1953

HARMON
v.
INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION et al.

Page 428

[76 Ariz. 41] Robert R. Weaver, Phoenix, for petitioner.

[76 Ariz. 42] Robert W. Pickrell, Phoenix, for respondent Industrial Commission of arizona.

Perry M. Ling, Robert E. Yount and Donald J. Morgan, Phoenix, of counsel, for respondents.

STANFORD, Chief Justice.

This is a review by certiorari of an award of the Industrial Commission of Arizona denying the petitioner, Thomas A. Harmon, any compensation beyond January 14, 1952 for a back injury he received while employed by defendant Western Cotton Products Co.

The facts show that petitioner was injured on April 4, 1951 by an accident which arose out of and in the course of his employment, in which he suffered a sprain of his lower back.

On May 2, 1951 the commission entered its findings and order and stated that the claimant was entitled to accident benefits and compensation, but that he should make a sincere effort to obtain light work of a nature he was physically capable of handling.

Petitioner was examined by Drs. Bishop, Ketcherside and Moore on May 31, 1951 at the request of the commission. A written report of their findings was submitted to the commission, and we quote from a portion of the 'Comments' therein:

'* * * we are of the opinion that the patient had a sprain of his lower back from which recovery has been delayed because of congenital anomalies as previously described above. In view of his failure to respond to conservative treatment, it is our recommendation that he be fitted with a William's back brace with encouragement regarding an early return to work.'

Dr. Ketcherside examined the petitioner after he had been wearing a back brace for a period of two months and reported to the commission that petitioner had noticed no improvement.

Again in August of 1951 the petitioner was examined by Drs. Bishop, Ketcherside and Moore and at that time these men reported that '* * * the patient is not

Page 429

making a very strenous effort toward rehabilitation. The physical findings today show very few, if any, objective evidences of disability.' These doctors recommended that petitioner do light work for a period of four to six weeks, believing that at the end of that time he would be ready for his regular work, viz., laborer.

On August 25, 1951, Dr. John Green examined petitioner at St. Joseph's Hospital at the request of Dr. Donald Polson. The latter doctor had petitioner admitted to said hospital because of his complaints concerning his back. Dr. Green recommended that petitioner continue wearing the back brace, and suggested it might be necessary later to perform a spinal fusion on petitioner.

[76 Ariz. 43] In a report to the Industrial Commission, dated October 1, 1951, Dr. Ketcherside admitted he was unable to determine whether petitioner could do light work. He recommended that petitioner be examined by an orthopedic surgeon to determine if any operation would be necessary.

Petitioner, having found no relief for his back, which, it appears, caused him considerable pain at times, sought the advice of Dr. Joseph Madison Greer, a surgeon. Dr. Greer examined the petitioner on December 12 and 14 of 1951, and submitted a report of his findings to the commission. The 'Comments' in said report are as follows:

'It is my opinion that this man has a low back disability which is not amenable to conservative treatment. From the physical and X-ray findings at this time, as well as the history, it is my recommendation that surgical fusion of the lumbosacral spine be done. From the history it is further my opinion that the injuries ...


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