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Appellate court upholds denial of palliative care

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed that a man is not entitled to ongoing palliative care because he failed to specify what treatment he believes he needs.

In Jeff Reeves v. Citizens Financial Services, No. 93A02-1107-EX-604, Jeff Reeves was injured in a car accident while in the course of his employment with Citizens Financial Services. He had pain in his neck, lower back, left hip and legs. Over the course of seven years, he saw numerous doctors or specialists to try to diagnose and treat the pain in his back and legs.

The matter went before a single hearing member of the Worker’s Compensation Board because Reeves and Citizens Financial could not agree on the company’s liability for any further treatment. The single hearing member found Reeves had reached maximum medical improvement, had a permanent partial impairment of five percent and was not entitled to palliative care. The full board adopted the single hearing member’s opinion in full in June 2011.

Reeves appealed the decision that he’s not entitled to ongoing palliative care, but did not specify what type of treatment he thinks he should receive. Citizens Financial argued that none of the doctors’ opinions clearly indicate that palliative care would reduce the extent of Reeves’ impairment.

There is conflicting evidence in this case as to whether palliative care – medicine, physical therapy or some other measure – reduces the extent of Reeves’ impairment, ruled the COA. Since he has not met the burden of showing the evidence is undisputed and leads inescapably to the opposite result of what the board found, the judges affirmed the board’s decision.

 

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