Ankin Law Office attorney Jonel Metaj gained a favorable arbitrator decision for his client, Trina White, an employee of the State of Illinois, Shapiro Developmental Center. White was awarded payment of medical bills, TTD, and a permanency award against the State of Illinois after she slipped and injured her knee while tending to patients.
(Read the full Arbitrator Decision here)
Medical reports show that White suffered a posterior horn medial meniscal tear in the left knee, as well as subcutaneous fluid surrounding the proximal patellar tendon with small patellofemoral joint effusion. A Baker’s cyst measuring 3.8 cm was also found.
According to the arbitration order:
A Summary of Events:
Trina White (Petitioner) was employed by the State of Illinois, Shapiro Developmental Center (Respondent) as a Mental Health Technician at the Shapiro Developmental Center, having been so employed for 26 years. White worked the overnight shift and her job duties included taking care of mentally ill patients. She could not recall her exact salary at the time of her injury, however, she produced pay stubs to substantiate her earnings for the 52 weeks prior to the accident.
White testified that on September 8, 2015 she was working the overnight shift which began at 11:00 PM. Part of her job is to walk around the facility and check in on the patients. White testified that she was walking inside a room when her right foot slipped. She testified that her right leg slid out in front of her causing her to fall directly onto her left knee. She testified that this happened between 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM. She testified that she did not feel immediate pain, however, her knee began to hurt later in her shift. She testified that although she could not see anything on the floor, she noted that something slippery on the floor caused her to fall.
White testified that every night before bedtime, the patients at the facility are bathed and brought into their rooms where they are dried off with a towel and powdered with baby powder. Petitioner testified that occasionally, water and powder will fall on the floor. She testified that the powder is white, as is the color of the tile floor and thus any residue on the floor is not clearly visible. She testified that the cleaning crew does not come around until the morning to do a thorough cleaning of the facility. She also testified that she has not had any prior slips in other areas of the facility. She was wearing regular gym shoes on the date of accident.
Following the slip and fall, White continued to work her shift. She filled out an accident report later that morning with her supervisor, Oscar. White told Oscar that she “slipped on the floor on something slippery and she fell on her knee.” She was not sent for any medical treatment by her supervisor.
White first sought medical treatment the following day at Presence St. Mary’s Hospital. An X-ray done to her knee showed no fractures or dislocation and the clinical impression was that of a left thigh strain resulting from a “mechanical fall.”
White followed up with Dr. Olatunji Akintilo at the Riverside Medical Center. White was diagnosed with left knee pain and an MRI of the left knee was ordered and she was advised not to return to work for 14 days. White followed up with Dr. Akintilo and complained of continued pain in the left knee which is aggravated by weight bearing and walking. Dr Akintilo recommended she stay off work for an additional 2 weeks.
A left knee MRI was performed at Presence St. Mary’s and the impression reported was that of myxoid change medial meniscus with degenerative tear junction of the body and posterior horn extending to the inferior articular surface. Moderate chondomalacia medial joint compartment was noted. A Baker’s cyst measuring 3.8 cm was also noted as well as subcutaneous fluid surrounding the proximal patellar tendon with small patellofemoral joint effusion. White followed up with Dr. Akintilo and he gave her a referral to see Dr. Eddie Jones, an orthopedic surgeon, to evaluate her for the left knee pain and Baker’s cyst. Dr. Akintilo also prescribed physical therapy 2-3 times a week for 4-6 weeks and he returned White to work to her regular duties.
White was evaluated by Dr. Jones and a review of the MRI was noted to show a posterior horn medial meniscal tear in the left knee and White elected to proceed with an intra-articular cortisone injection in the left knee joint. White followed up with Dr. Jones and it was noted that she had a much improved left knee with underlying left medial meniscal tear. She was advised to return to the clinic as needed.
White testified that she has been working her regular duties as of the date of the last visit with Dr. Jones. She testified that she still feels pain in her knee from time to time. She further testified that in 2017, she went to a clinic to get a checkup on her left knee as her pain had increased. Petitioner testified that she could not remember the name of the clinic but that they recommended physical therapy for her pain.