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CHARET v. UNITED STATES

February 27, 1996

HAZEL CHARET, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HOLDERMAN

 JAMES F. HOLDERMAN, District Judge:

 The evidence adduced at the one-day bench trial conducted in this case on February 20, 1996 revealed the following:

 FACTS

 At approximately 11:00 a.m. on February 1, 1994, plaintiff Hazel Charet, age 81, slipped and fell as she walked on the sidewalk approaching the entrance doors to the U.S. Post Office in Niles, Illinois. As she fell she extended her left arm, with her hand palm down, to try to brace her fall. She then landed on the left side of her body after cushioning her fall with her hand and arm. After her fall, Mrs. Charet got up with the help of a passer-by and entered the Niles Post Office building. Once inside the Post Office building she told, Viola Wilson, the assistant supervisor at the Niles Post Office what had happened. Ms. Wilson then took Mrs. Charet into an office in the Post Office and gave Mrs. Charet a dampened paper towel to put on her wrist which Mrs. Charet said she had hurt in the fall.

 At the hospital Mrs. Charet was diagnosed by an emergency room physician, Brian Pine, M.D., as having a fractured left wrist. While at Lutheran General Hospital, on February 1, 1994, Mrs. Charet's left wrist was placed in a plaster cast. She then was taken home to recuperate by her adult daughter and son-in-law who had come to the hospital after being notified of Mrs. Charet's fall.

 Three days later on February 4, 1994 Ms. Charet consulted Melvin P. Katz, M.D. Dr. Katz's letter to Dr. Pine dated February 4, 1994 states of Mrs. Charet in part:

 
This 81 year old woman is being seen in consultation secondary to a fall on the ice on 2/1/94. As she fell, she landed on the outstretched left upper extremity. Had immediate pain and tenderness in the left wrist. No other complaints. No history of loss of consciousness. Patient was found to have a severely comminuted, displaced, interarticular fracture of the distal left radius. Was placed in a long-arm cast and comes in today with her daughter. Is feeling better. Still moderate amount of pain at the fracture site. No previous history of injury to this wrist.

 On February 11, 1994, ten days after her fall, Mrs. Charet told her physician according to her physician's notes:

 
"She feels much better. Has been working on range of motion exercises to the finger and shoulder on the left. Having less pain at the fracture site. Having less pain at the fracture site." (Government Exhibit 2, pg. 46)

 On March 1, 1994, one month after her fall, the examining physician's notes state about Mrs. Charet:

 
"Is here with her daughter in law. Is feeling well. Has been working on elevation and range of motion exercises. No complaints." (Government Exhibit 2, pg. 46)

 On March 16, 1994, six weeks and one day after her fall, the cast was removed from Mrs. Charet's left wrist and her attending physician noted she had: "Full range of motion of the fingers and thumb and shoulder." (Government Exhibit 2, pg. 46)

 On March 22, 1994, seven weeks after her fall, Mrs. Charet started a program of physical therapy and told the physical therapist: "It's getting a lot better." (Government Exhibit 2, pg. 30, 32)

 On March 30, 1994, Mrs. Charet told her physical therapist: "I think I'm doing better." ...


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