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No Ongoing Benefits for Teller Who Suffered Coronary After Holdup

Today's workers' compensation defense post will examine a very interesting case involving a bank teller who suffered a heart attack shortly after an armed robbery, a rare heart condition, and an employer's obligation to continue indefinite payments for medications.

The Facts of the work comp case

In December 2006, R. Abbott was employed as a bank teller at MainSource Financial Group when it was robbed by an armed man. During the robbery, the gunman held Abbott and several others at gunpoint, threatening to kill them before escaping.

Abbott suffered a heart attack shortly after the robbery and was taken to the hospital where a heart catheterization procedure was performed.

Physicians eventually diagnosed Abbott with Takotsubo syndrome, a rare condition that causes otherwise healthy people (i.e., those not suffering from coronary artery disease or arterial blockage) to experience symptoms of a heart attack following a stressful event.

Abbott was prescribed a lipid-lowering drug and a beta blocker as protection against a future heart attack. Her physician indicated that he was uncertain as to how long Abbott should take the medications.

Abbott's heart condition eventually improved and she returned to her former position. Subsequent to this return, however, MainSource Financial Group declined to continue paying for her prescription heart medications.

The IN Workers' Compensation Board and IN Court of Appeals

Shortly thereafter, Abbott took the matter to the Indiana Workers' Compensation Board, where it was subsequently determined that MainSource Financial Group did not have to pay the ongoing costs Abbott's heart medications.

The Court of Appeals of Indiana affirmed the decision of the Workers' Compensation Board this past summer. Here, the court held that any future heart attack suffered by Abbott because of her Takotsubo syndrome would "be related to a discrete stressful event and would not stem from the injuries she sustained as a result of the bank robbery."

Stay tuned for interesting news in the area of workers' compensation defense ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

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