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Court affirms ruling roofer’s knee replacement surgery necessary

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The Supreme Court of Wyoming on Tuesday affirmed an earlier district court ruling that an injured roofer’s knee-replacement surgery was required, despite mixed testimony from doctors who disagreed on whether the man’s injury required the drastic procedure.

John Lysne injured his knee when his leg “gave out” while carrying shingles up a ladder to repair a roof in 2013. In 2014, he underwent knee replacement surgery at the suggestion of an orthopedic surgeon diagnosing the causes of his lingering pain, according to documents in State of Wyoming el. rel, Department of Workforce Services, Workers’ Compensation Division v. John Lysne, filed in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

While the state’s Medical Commission approved the surgery, the Workers’ Compensation Division appealed, contending that Mr. Lysne did not “provide adequate proof that his need for the surgery is causally related to his work injury.” A district court, weighing evidence stemming from visits with six orthopedic surgeons who disagreed over whether a knee replacement surgery was necessary, ruled that it was “reasonable and necessary under the circumstances and causally related” to his work injury.

On further appeal to the state’s highest court, the knee replacement surgery was found to be compensable: “The Commission's finding that Mr. Lysne's work injury caused his need for knee replacement surgery was supported by substantial evidence was not contrary to law. Medical evidence of causation was not required because in this instance Mr. Lysne's need for knee replacement surgery was ‘immediately and directly or naturally and probably’ the result of the accident,” the ruling states.