Wednesday, February 29, 2012

TWCA reviews when an employee's heart attack began and whether it was causally related to his employment


The employee, an undercover drug investigator for the City of Savannah, alleged that he sustained a heart attack as a result of a physical confrontation with a suspect on March 2, 2005, during which he experienced tightness in his chest and shortness of breath. He experienced pressure in his chest and low energy but continued to work the following two days. On March 5, while engaged in activities unrelated to his job, he experienced nausea, profuse sweating, and severe pain in his chest, jaw, and left arm. His wife took him to a hospital emergency room where he was treated for an acute myocardial infarction.

At trial, one of his treating physicians testified that the heart attack began on March 2 and continued until March 5. A second treating physician and an evaluating physician testified that the March 2 incident did not cause the March 5 heart attack. The trial court found that the heart attack began on March 2, and the employer appealed.

On appeal, the employer 1 contends that the trial court erred in finding that the statutory presumption had not been overcome, erred in concluding that employee’s heart attack began on March 2, 2005, and erred by finding that employee’s heart attack was causally related to his employment. Although we agree that the trial court erred in its application of the statutory presumption, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Opinion available at:

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