fall 2008 cat case for brief

fall 2008 cat case for brief - [2[3 ANDREA MARIE FREY v...

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[2] [3] ANDREA MARIE FREY v. GUNSTON ANIMAL HOSPITAL AND CINCINNATI INDEMNITY CO. [4] Record No. 0492-02-4 [5] COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA [6] FROM THE VIRGINIA WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [7] December 10, 2002 [8] Present: Chief Judge Fitzpatrick, Judge Benton and Senior Judge Overton [9] [10] Calvin W. Fowler (Williams Mullen, on brief), for appellees. [11] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James W. Benton, Jr. [12] Argued at Alexandria, Virginia [13] Andrea Marie Frey appeals from a decision of the Workers' Compensation Commission denying her claim for reimbursement for the cost of injections, which she alleged were required as a result of exposure to the rabies virus in her employment. She contends the commission erred in finding that the feral cat she medicated did not have rabies and that the evidence failed to prove an injury by accident. For the following reasons, we reverse the commission's decision. [14] I. [15] The evidence is essentially undisputed. Gunston Animal Hospital employed nineteen-year-old Andrea Marie Frey as a veterinary assistant. Although Frey had not been vaccinated for rabies, Dr. Allison Mayo, the veterinarian-owner who was treating a feral cat for upper respiratory and head cold symptoms, directed Frey to medicate the cat. Frey put medication into the cat's mouth using her hands, which had pre- existing scratches from handling other animals. Frey testified that when she put her hand inside the cat's mouth to insert the medication, she probably touched the cat's tongue and that there was "a good chance that . . . saliva came in contact with [her] hands." The day after Frey
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medicated the cat, the cat's condition worsened. [16] Before the cat came to the hospital for treatment, the cat had been in a colony of feral cats. These feral cats were living less than three miles from a park where three feral cats were discovered to be rabid. The veterinarian who treated the cat was unaware of these circumstances and had not directed Frey to take precautions with the cat. After the cat developed progressive neurologic symptoms, however, another veterinarian instituted rabies precautions to assure that none of the employees would have further exposure to the cat. The veterinarian then "euthanized" the cat but failed to test the cat for rabies. [17] After the hospital "erroneously" delivered the cat's body to be buried, the veterinarian-owner who had treated the cat obtained a booster shot for herself to prevent a rabies infection. When the veterinarian-owner learned of Frey's exposure to the cat, she contacted several experts in rabies epidemiology because of her concern for Frey, who was unvaccinated. After those experts recommended rabies treatment for Frey, Frey received injections to prevent rabies infection. The hospital's workers' compensation insurer concluded, however, that Frey's condition did not result from an accidental injury or
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fall 2008 cat case for brief - [2[3 ANDREA MARIE FREY v...

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