Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 3394 18
A. Patterson - S. Sahay - M. Tzaferis
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (stress, mental) (traumatic event)
  • Adjustment disorder

The worker, a registered nurse, sought entitlement to benefits for Traumatic Mental Stress (TMS), or, in the alternative, entitlement to benefits for Chronic Mental Stress (CMS).

The appeal was allowed. The worker had entitlement for TMS.
In this situation, the worker had removed the restraints of a patient who committed suicide shortly thereafter. The Panel found that a sudden and unexpected traumatic event had occurred. The Panel found that the worker learning of the event was objectively traumatic, and the immediacy of the event to the worker was factually relevant. In this same regard, the number and nature of the prior interactions between worker and patient were important contextual elements.
The Panel acknowledged that the worker did not witness the event first-hand, nor did she "hear the traumatic event through direct contact..." In the Panel's view, the requirement that the worker witness the traumatic event either by visual or auditory means was substantially satisfied in the particular facts of this appeal. The worker had been searching for the individual at the time, and as such, there existed a close temporal nexus between the events, as well as a causal relationship.