A Nebraska workers' compensation judge awarded total disability benefits to a registered nurse as a result of her latex sensitivity. In determining the injured worker's disability, the Court evaluated not only her physical symptoms, but also took into consideration her psychological stress factors and declared her totally disabled from a psychiatric standpoint.
Evidence offered at the time of trial indicated that the former registered nurse suffered from multiple symptoms including: hives, shortness of breath, fatigue, hoarseness and watery eyes. The Court noted that during the trial the nurse became fatigued and confused and that it was difficult to continue with the proceeding. The sensitized worker was required to carry epinephrine and use it on occasion. Her diet was restricted due to the cross reactions she now suffers from foods. The chronic fatigue syndrome was manifested in the need for 14 to 16 hours of sleep each day. During her waking hours she considered herself "worn out" despite the extensive hours of sleep.
The Court relied upon the testimony of the former nurse, a vocational expert, and a medical expert and reached a decision that the claimant had not reached maximum medical improvement from her psychiatric condition resulting from her allergy to latex. The Court awarded permanent and total disability benefits to the former nurse payable on a weekly basis.
Morris v. Nebraska Health Systems, Inc., et al, Docket 200 No. 98 (February 21, 2001) (Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court). (PDF 349KB)