Ms. Bruhn was originally injured in July of 2006, while working as a barista. An expresso machine was falling, and she reached up to stop it. She developed right carpal tunnel syndrome and underwent surgery. However, the surgery did not fully cure her condition.
Her case was complicated due to the fact that, prior to the 2006 industrial injury, she had hurt her hand on a glass window. At that time, her median nerve in her right wrist was cut. It was repaired in 2003 by grafting a nerve from her ankle into her right wrist. About one year later, she regained feeling and function in her right hand, but then had the incident with the expresso machine, on July 18, 2006.
The Department presented the testimony of a medical doctor and a chiropractor saying she could return to work.
Ms. Bruhn’s treating chiropractor testified she had substantial limitations on lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, reaching, fingering and handling, based upon his examinations and he agreed with a physical therapist, who had performed a Functional Capacities Evaluation, showing Ms. Bruhn could only work at a sedentary job, at best. Her doctor testified that she was unable to repetitively use her dominate right arm. We called a vocational consultant who testified Ms. Bruhn’s limitations prevented her from working.
After the hearing, the Board entered a decision finding Ms. Bruhn was unable to perform and obtain gainful employment, as of July 12, 2017, and that Ms. Bruhn was permanently and totally disabled as of July 13, 2017.