A nurse injured when working for Duke University lost access to reimbursement benefits, since she did not show that she had been actively seeking alternative employment, held an appeal court in North Carolina on Tuesday.
Margarita Walston suffered two injuries to the arm and knee in 2014 and 2015 while working at the University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. When she achieved a maximum medical improvement in 2015 after the surgery, she provided an evaluative physical physical limitation. Six months later, another evaluation showed that she could work "in a light physical demand category", but the evaluator noted that she showed "inconsistent performance with self-limiting behavior", according to documents in Margarita Walston v Duke University filed in North Carolina in Raleigh.
At the same time, the self-insured Walston investigated that she found the work in the yard and went without a cane, she said she needed and used when visiting the doctor, according to documents.
Ms. Walston also failed to follow professional rehabilitation by not applying for jobs she could perform per evaluator and within 50 miles of her home, according to documents.
"The owner received several vacancies from (occupational rehabilitation case manager), but she did not apply for any of the vacancies. The plaintiff's inconsistency with the vacancies was documented. The applicant's continued non-compliance resulted in an order from the Special Deputy Chairman on 1
After this order (the chief of the case) met with the applicant "sometimes and gave her more vacancies. The applicant responded to some but not all vacancies and cited the following as reasons for non-compliance: lack of qualifications or experience; requirement of weekend hours and distances from her home, "register state.
Ms. Walston told (fall handler) "that some of the positions, though within a 50 mile radius, were too far away from her home and the driving distance would affect her injuries. However, the applicant's work record did not contain any driving restrictions. As such, absent evidence of any driving restrictions (case manager) ) continued to provide the applicant with vacancies up to 50 miles away, "record status."
In April 2016, the university completed her reimbursement benefits. In two appeals, both the full-time Compensation Commission and the Vice-Chancellor of Duke ruled to terminate benefits, as Walston failed to seek work despite her documented recovery.
The Court of Appeal confirmed and wrote in its opinion: "Following the review of the record, we agree with the Commission's conclusion, since there was proper evidence that the plaintiff distorted his injuries when performing the job search. … Defendant invoked video surveillance that the plaintiff had performed extensive personal data with unlimited use of legs and arm. The prosecutor's doctors noted the case owner's inconsistency with her injuries, as she showed self-limiting behavior during medical visits. "
The university and lawyers concerned could not be immediately reached for comments.