STEPHEN J. GRABOWSKI, JR. Appellant/Claimant-Below,
JJ. WHITE, INC. Appellee/Employer-Below.
Submitted: August 9, 2018
Consideration of Industrial Accident Board Appeal.
S. Nitsche, Esquire, and Katherine L. Hemming, Esquire, Gary
S. Nitsche, P.A., Attorneys for Claimant-Below, Appellant.
J. Ellis, Esquire, Heckler & Frabizzio, Attorneys for
E. BUTLER, JUDGE.
an appeal from a ruling by the Industrial Accident Board
("IAB"). The grounds for appeal are based upon a
single evidentiary ruling and a complaint that the decision
is not supported by substantial evidence. Finding neither
claim to be meritorious, the Court will affirm the finding of
Grabowski, Jr. was injured in an assault that occurred at his
work in 2000. There is no dispute that it was a
"work related injury" compensable under the
Worker's Compensation system.
2001 to 2017, Grabowski underwent surgery on his back in 2001
and again in 2005. In 2014, he had a third surgery to remove
lumbar hardware, presumably left from the earlier surgeries.
Although he did not testify at the IAB hearing, the Board was
told that Grabowski has expressed a disinclination to undergo
any further surgery to improve his condition.
2001, Grabowski has been a patient of Dr. Balu. Dr. Balu is a
pain management specialist with a practice in Dover. For a
"very long time," the primary treatment for the
Claimant has been Percocet, a narcotic drug.
this certainly seems like a long time to be prescribed a
narcotic, Dr. Balu testified that he administered a DAST - 10
Opiate Risk Assessment tool that showed the Claimant to be at
low risk for abuse of the drugs he was being prescribed.
Thus, Dr. Balu saw no reason to curtail or alter the ongoing
practicing with Dr. Balu was a chiropractor, Dr. Brian
Broskoski. The Claimant thus received narcotics as well as
massages, stretching, and related treatment through the
chiropractor. Finally, Dr. Balu created a compound topical
mixture that he prescribed for Grabowski's
these various treatments, the record reflects no instance in
which the Claimant's reported pain was less than a
"7" on a scale of "1 to
10". In addition, any improvement in his
mobility can only be described as modest. For example, after
a therapy session, he reported that he could now sit for
thirty minutes, whereas before he could only sit for fifteen
minutes. He could sleep for four hours, but after
therapy he could sleep for five hours.
employer sought a "Utilization Review" of both Dr.
Balu's prescription treatment and Dr. Broskoski's
chiropractic treatment. While that record is not before the
Court, the Claimant prevailed, which set up the de
novo review by the IAB.
held its de novo hearing, as a result of which it
reversed the findings of the Utilization Review. The IAB
concluded that the opioid and chiropractic treatments were
not reasonable and necessary and ordered that Grabowski be
weaned from the current treatment of narcotic