Abstract

This Case Study involves a 49-year-old, right-handed laborer whose impairment rating was performed by two surgeons in California following right- and left-hand endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgeries. He was evaluated by both physicians as permanent and stationary with 30% disability according to one rater and 19% by the second rater. Both raters used grip strength measurements tested using a dynamometer by the first evaluating physician and also discussed by the second evaluator. Both evaluators assessed permanent disability. The authors of this Case Study now pause to ask about problems associated with these reports and how the case should be rated; readers are encouraged to perform their own assessments before continuing with the answers and discussion that appear several pages later in this issue of The Guides Newsletter. The authors note that neither report met standards defined in the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides): both histories are inadequate (eg, results of any sensory testing), as is the clinical discussion. Further, the AMA Guides indicates that it is inappropriate to rate the individual based on weakness of grip strength. In this, as in other aspects of the initial ratings, the evaluators should have followed the AMA Guides more closely, citing appropriate text and tables both for the conduct of the tests and arriving at appropriate impairment ratings. Doing so, in this instance, would result in a rating of 2% whole person permanent impairment.

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