NOT DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION
Appeal from the Workers' Compensation Court: James R. Coe, Judge.
Jon Rehm, of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, P.C., L.L.O., for appellant.
Patrick Mack, of McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, P.A., for appellant.
Sievers, Pirtle, and Riedmann, Judges.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL
Albert Allen appeals the decision of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court entered September 12, 2012. Allen asserts the Workers' Compensation Court erred in finding that certain expenses were not compensable medical expenses under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-120 (Cum. Supp. 2012). For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
Allen injured his left knee in the course and scope of his employment with Malnove Holding Company (Malnove) when he fell a short distance from a platform working as a lead pressman on August 10, 2010. Allen was taken to a hospital emergency room with complaints of pain in his left leg. He was diagnosed as having contusions and abrasions, and he was released. Allen visited Dr. Dean Wampler the same day. Wampler noted that the x rays taken at the hospital showed no fracture and that he advised Allen to ice the leg and keep it elevated. Wampler continued to treat Allen, who complained of vague symptoms of pain and parasthesia in the knee and some swelling. Wampler ordered an MRI on Allen's left knee on September 14. Wampler wrote, "I think for [Allen] to have some confidence to move ahead, I need to do an MRI scan and make sure there is not something missed that we need to address within the knee joint itself."
The MRI showed degenerative changes in the meniscus and an abnormal "signal intensity surrounding the ACL, " which was intact. It also showed further degenerative disease in the "patellar articular cartilage." Wampler referred Allen to Excel Physical Therapy, where he completed eight sessions for treatment of his lower left leg. Allen reported he was pleased with his improvement in his range of motion, strength, and endurance.
Wampler referred Allen to an orthopedic specialist, Dr. Steven Goebel, because Allen continued to complain of sharp knee pain. Goebel took Allen off work for approximately 4 weeks because of the continued complaints of pain. Goebel provided care from September 2010 to March 2011, including appointments every 4 to 6 weeks and three deep vein thrombosis (DVT) examinations. The DVT examinations took place on August 17, September 24, and December 29, 2010, and the results were all normal.
On March 17, 2011, Goebel noted that Allen's symptoms were very vague and that it was difficult to isolate exactly where his pain was coming from. He reviewed the MRI results, which demonstrated no appreciable findings. He also noted that there was some degeneration around the meniscus, but that this did not correlate with Allen's reported symptoms. At that time, Goebel recommended a second orthopedic opinion to find the reason for Allen's pain. Dr. D.M. Gammel examined Allen on June 30, and he determined that Allen suffered a contusion and an abrasion to his knee in 2010, which had resolved, and that Allen was not in need of any additional medical treatment.
Allen independently sought treatment from Dr. Donna Nelson while he was under the care of Wampler and Goebel. He first saw her in September 2010, and he returned in December 2011, after being released by Gammel. Nelson performed a fourth DVT examination. The results of this examination were normal, and Nelson suggested that Allen seek a second opinion regarding ongoing pain. She referred ...