Decision  Donna M. Burns v. MBTA

Date: 06/18/2003
Organization: Department of Industrial Accidents
Docket Number: DIA Board No. 039355-00
Location: Boston
  • Employee: Donna M. Burns
  • Employer: MBTA
  • Self Insurer: MBTA

COSTIGAN, J. The employee worked as a part-time bus operator for the employer. On October 12, 2000, she drove a route between Quincy and Mattapan. At approximately 6:00 P.M., she pulled into the Quincy T station for a rest break. She exited the bus in the parking lot, chocked the wheels on the passenger side of the bus, and re-entered the bus to retrieve her pocketbook before heading off to the ladies’ room. Moving very quickly because of the distance to the ladies’ room and because her break was short,1 she stepped off the lowest step of the bus onto the walkway, a distance of about one and one-half feet, she felt her right foot crack and could not put weight back down on the foot completely. The employee reported her injury to an MBTA inspector and an ambulance was dispatched to transport her to Quincy Medical Center. (Dec. 4-5.) She underwent extensive medical treatment and testing, and never returned to work. (Dec. 5-6.) As ultimately diagnosed and opined by her treating physician, Dr. David Blaustein, the employee developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy of her right foot and was totally disabled from and after the incident at work. (Dec. 8-10.)2

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1 The employee testified that the ladies’ room was located in the inspector’s booth, at the other end of the bus platform. She also testified that she arrived at the parking lot at approximately 6:04 p.m. and was scheduled to depart at 6:10 p.m. (Tr. 17-18.)

2 Based on the administrative judge’s ruling that the medical issues presented by the employee’s claim were complex, the parties were allowed to offer their own medical evidence in addition to the report and deposition testimony of the impartial medical examiner. See G. L. c. 152, § 11A(2). Because the self-insurer does not challenge the judge’s adoption of Dr. Blaustein’s opinion over that of the impartial medical examiner, nor does it dispute the judge’s finding of ongoing total incapacity, we need not discuss the medical evidence.

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