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E.D. Mich.: The Cognitive Ramifications of Physical Pain

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  • E.D. Mich.: The Cognitive Ramifications of Physical Pain

    In a recent case from the Eastern District of Michigan, the court delves into how physical manifestations of pain can affect the cognitive function of an individual, rendering him or her disabled as a result. In the opinion, the court reasons that as none of the reviewing medical professionals considered this possibility, the Defendant's decision to deny benefits was incorrect

    After conducting file reviews at LINA’s request, two physicians, a nurse, and a Vocational Specialist all concluded that the medical records did not support restrictions and limitations that would preclude Plaintiff from the demands of her own occupation. However, nothing in the record indicates that these reviewers considered the cognitive demands of Plaintiff’s own occupation, or the degree to which Plaintiff’s pain interferes with her ability to concentrate and meet the cognitive demands of her own occupation.
    The court observed that the most glaring omission was that LINA never addressed the Plaintiff’s treating physicians’ opinions that Plaintiff’s severe pain was likely to interfere with her ability to maintain sustained concentration, attention, and performance in a work setting.

    While the opinions of Plaintiff’s treating physicians are not afforded a presumption of correctness, the Court notes that these doctors physically examined Plaintiff a number of times and were in a better position than LINA’s file reviewers to observe and evaluate Plaintiff’s subjective levels of pain caused by her underlying conditions. Furthermore, while the opinions of Plaintiff’s treating physicians do not perfectly track each other, the Court finds that they support each other and are substantially in agreement. Looking at the administrative record as whole under the de novo standard, the Court concludes that the opinions of Plaintiff’s treating physicians discussed above are well supported.
    The opinion is attached below.
    Attached Files
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