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Green v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

February 6, 2015

TANESSA REYNE GREEN,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

PATRICK J. HANNA, Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court is an appeal of the Commissioner's finding of non-disability. Considering the administrative record, the briefs of the parties, and the applicable law, it is recommended that the Commissioner's decision be reversed and remanded for further consideration consistent with this report and recommendation.

BACKGROUND

The claimant, Tanessa Reyne Green, was born on February 18, 1973.[1] On April 13, 2011, [2] when she was thirty-eight years old, Ms. Green applied for a period of disability, for disability insurance benefits, and for supplemental security income, alleging a disability onset date of December 15, 2007[3] due to a neck injury and/or degenerative disc disease in her cervical spine.[4] Her alleged onset date was later changed to June 3, 2008, [5] which corresponds to the date on which she was last insured.[6] Ms. Green graduated from high school and obtained vocational school training as a medical assistant.[7] She has past work experience as a cashier at Wal-Mart, as a cafeteria worker in a feeding program for underprivileged children, as a certified nursing assistant in both hospital and home health environments, and as an enumerator for the United States census.[8] She has not worked since October 17, 2012, [9] allegedly due to her disabling condition.

The record indicates that Ms. Green injured her neck in a motor vehicle accident in approximately 1996 and that she has experienced worsening symptoms since that time.[10] Ms. Green sought treatment at Abbeville General Hospital on December 12, 2007, complaining of neck pain, and she was diagnosed with an acute myofascial strain.[11] An MRI of that same date showed an unremarkable cervical spine.[12]

On March 17, 2008, [13] Ms. Green was seen at University Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana with complaints of migraine headaches and left upper arm weakness. The treatment note references an MRI of the cervical spine that showed central disk protrusion at both C4-5 and C5-6 with mild cord contour abnormality. She was referred to a neurosurgeon at LSU in Shreveport, Louisiana.

She returned to the emergency room at the same hospital on April 17, 2008, again complaining of neck pain and was diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy.[14]

On July 25, 2008, [15] Ms. Green again presented at the ER at Abbeville General Hospital, complaining that she could not move her left arm. Her physician ruled out an acute cerebrovascular accident. The doctor noted that her "past medical history [is] significant for herniated cervical disc and left upper extremity weakness" and that she has "a history of cervical spinal stenosis as well as disc disease with nerve impingement along the left side." He also noted that she was "currently awaiting surgical intervention."

On May 1, 2009, [16] Ms. Green was seen at the internal medicine clinic at University Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. She complained of left shoulder pain, neck pain, and migraine headaches. She was referred to the neurosurgery department in Shreveport.

On April 23, 2010, [17] Ms. Green complained to a physician at the Abbeville General clinic of weakness in her left arm, and left shoulder and arm pain, decreased strength in her left hand and numbness in her fingers. At that time, she had an appointment to see a neurosurgeon in Shreveport on May 3.

Ms. Green returned to the clinic in Abbeville on May 7, 2010, again complaining of neck and shoulder pain.[18] It was noted that her pain was worse and that she had weakness in her left upper extremity and weak hand grasp. Her appointment in Shreveport had been rescheduled to July. She was seen in the clinic for the same complaints on May 10, 2010[19] and May 28, 2010.[20]

On July 8, 2010, Ms. Green was seen at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport and diagnosed with degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine.[21] The treatment note references an MRI of the cervical spine from April 2010 that revealed a bulge impinging on the left nerve root. She was prescribed medication and referred to the neurosurgical department for a consultation.

On August 30, 2010, Ms. Green again presented at the clinic in Abbeville.[22] She reported that she had been seen in the wrong clinic in Shreveport, having been seen by neurology instead of neurosurgery, and was being rescheduled. A decreased range of motion in her shoulder was noted as well as shoulder crepitance.

On February 28, 2011, [23] Ms. Green reported to the nurse practitioner at the Abbeville clinic that she had been unable to get an appointment at the neurosurgery clinic at LSU in Shreveport. She complained of continued pain and weakness in her left arm.

On March 18, 2011, [24] Ms. Green again visited the clinic at Abbeville General Hospital. Her chief complaint was new onset right arm pain. She reported that she recently saw the neurosurgeon in Shreveport and had scheduled surgery for May 12. The impression assigned was herniated cervical disc. Ms. Green followed up at the clinic on April 1, 2011.[25]

On May 23, 2011, [26] Ms. Green was seen at Abbeville General Hospital and reported that her surgery had again been ...


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