O'Brien Nolin v. Seaside Healthcare
Maine Healthcare Association
November 17, 2021
CategoriesBoard IME Procedure Board IME Procedure
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
- O'Brien-Nolin worked as a nurse at Seaside and developed a MRSA infection in her ear, leading to deafness and incapacity. She claimed she got it from a Seaside patient and petitioned for benefits. Seaside’s consultant nurse reviewed the patient’s records and reported that, while he previously had MRSA, he did not have it when he was at Seaside. She also noted that O’Brien-Nolin’s involvement with this patient was minimal and followed standard precautions, making infection unlikely.
§312 IME Dr. Medrano initially opined that O’Brien-Nolin likely got the MRSA infection at Seaside, but at deposition, he reviewed the nurse consultant’s report and patient's medical records, and he changed his causation opinion to unlikely. After the hearing and deposition, O'Brien-Nolin asked for a subpoena to get the patient’s records herself, but Judge Goodnough denied it as untimely and unwarranted.
O'Brien-Nolin argued clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, but Judge Goodnough adopted the §312 IME deposition opinion and denied her petitions.
O'Brien-Nolin appealed, but the appellate panel upheld the decision. The panel held that an ALJ’s adoption of an IME opinion can be overturned only if the opinion has no rational basis, and here it did. The panel also held that the ALJ did not abuse his discretion in reasonably choosing to deny the subpoena request.