United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
RHONDA WHITE, as successor to Carl R. White, Deceased, Plaintiff,
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security,  Defendant.
SCHANZLE-HASKINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Rhonda White, as successor to her late husband Carl R. White
(White), deceased, appeals from the denial of White's
application for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
(Disability Benefits) under Title II of the Social Security
Act. 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i) and 423. This appeal is
brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
applied for Disability Benefits on September 28, 2015.
Certified Transcript of Proceedings before the Social
Security Administration (d/e 13 (R.) 81. White filed a
previous application for Disability Benefits. The prior
application was denied on May 10, 2012. R. 266. In the
current application, White alleged that he became disabled on
April 30, 2011 (“Onset Date”). R. 67, 83.
The last date he was insured for Disability Benefits was June
30, 2013 (“Date Last Insured” or
“DLI”). White was required to establish that he
was disabled on or before the Date Last Insured. 20 C.F.R.
his Date Last Insured, White suffered three strokes in 2014
and 2015. His wife Rhonda White was appointed his guardian on
January 19, 2016. R. 33, 175. White died on January 19, 2019.
Death Certificate (d/e 10). Rhonda White was
substituted in as the proper party plaintiff in this case.
Text Order entered March 13, 2019; Fed.R.Civ.P.
25(a)(1). Rhonda White filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment (d/e 15). The Defendant Commissioner filed a Motion
for Summary Affirmance (d/e 18). For the reasons set forth
below, the Decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.
was born on November 7, 1955. He completed high school. He
previously worked as a self-employed construction contractor.
R. 216. He last worked in 2008. R. 205, 269. He stopped
working because of the economic downturn in 2008. R. 216. On
or before June 30, 2013, White suffered from diabetes
mellitus, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, peripheral
neuropathy, and kidney disease status post renal cancer and
partial left nephrectomy. R. 67, 81, 83-84, 87, 206. On February
18, 2005, White underwent a left partial nephrectomy for
low-grade conventional clear cell carcinoma of the left
kidney. R. 894.
January 22, 2008, Carl White had blood tests. The results
showed blood urea nitrogen level (BUN) at 33, creatinine at
1.48, and estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) at 50.
R. 380. Normal BUN is 9-21, normal creatinine is 0.7-1.3, and
normal GFR is 60-120. E.g., R. 571, 573.
February 14, 2008, White saw Dr. Andrew Bourne, M.D., for a
follow up on his cancer surgery. R. 894-95. On examination,
White was obese. Otherwise, he was in no acute distress,
alert, and oriented. White's lab test results showed
glucose at 118, BUN at 21 and creatinine at 1.3. Normal
glucose is 75-110. E.g., R. 573. Otherwise, his
liver functions were within normal limits. X-rays and
ultrasound showed cardiomegaly but no other remarkable
results. Dr. Bourne concluded that White had a
“good oncologic outcome.” Dr. Bourne planned to
see White in a year. R. 894.
February 27, 2008, White saw Dr. Amit S. Date, M.D., for a
follow up appointment after a sleep study. R. 893. The study
showed severe sleep apnea. The study also showed that White
significantly improved with the use of a BiPAP machine while
sleeping. White reported that after sleeping with
the BiPAP machine, he was not as tired during the day and his
mood improved. White decided to use the BiPAP machine and to
lose weight. On examination, White was 5 feet 10 inches tall
and weighed 332 pounds, with a body mass index (BMI) of 44.5.
November 4, 2008, White had blood tests. The results showed
glucose at 68, potassium at 4.8, BUN at 25, creatinine at
1.5, and GFR at 52. R. 380.
February 19, 2009, White had blood tests. The results showed
glucose at 121, potassium at 4.4, BUN at 28, creatinine at
1.56, and GFR at 47. R. 365-66.
February 18, 2010, White had blood tests. The results showed
glucose at 147, potassium at 4.4, BUN at 26, creatinine at
1.3, and GFR at 58. R. 369.
10, 2010, White's lab results showed an A1C diabetes test
result of 9.5. A normal A1C is 4.2 to 6.5. R. 373.
March 31, 2011, White saw Dr. William Yu, M.D., for his
annual physical examination. R. 540-42. White complained of
abdominal pain in the right upper quadrant radiating to the
left flank. R. 540. White weighed 335 pounds with a BMI of
48.07. On examination, White had an abnormal gait, but normal
movement of his extremities and normal muscle tone and
strength. R. 541. Blood test results showed glucose at 365,
potassium at 5.5, BUN at 34, creatinine at 2.53, and GFR at
34. R. 574, 580. Dr. Yu referred White for an ultrasound for
his abdominal pain. R.542.
April 29, 2011, White had his gallbladder removed. R. 392.
Blood tests showed glucose at 350, BUN at 48, creatinine at
3.9, and potassium at 7.0. The results indicated that the
potassium level was critical. R. 397. When White arrived at
home after the gallbladder surgery, he felt weakness in his
legs and almost fell. R. 393.
next day, on April 30, 2011, White was admitted to Memorial
Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois (Memorial), for acute
renal failure. R. 393. Blood tests showed potassium at 7.6,
glucose at 134, BUN at 52, and creatinine at 4.0. R. 466.
White saw Dr. Pradeep Mehta, M.D., on a consult on his acute
renal failure. Dr. Mehta placed White on dialysis. R. 404-05.
After dialysis, on May 1, 2011, White's potassium dropped
to 4.9 in normal ranges; BUN dropped to 29; and creatinine
dropped to 2.8. White's glucose was 134. R. 467. On May
2, 2011, White's potassium stayed normal at 4.5; his
glucose was 164, his BUN was 37, and his creatinine was 3.1.
R. 468. On May 3, 2011, White's potassium stayed normal
at 4.4, his glucose was 203, his BUN was 31, and his
creatinine was 2, 8. R. 469. White was taken off his diabetes
medications and started on insulin. He was also put on blood
pressure medication. He was discharged in stable condition on
May 3, 2011. R. 393.
20, 2011, White saw Dr. Yu for follow up after
hospitalization and to repeat blood tests. R. 535. The blood
test results showed potassium at 5.1, glucose at 246, BUN at
41, creatinine at 2.85, and GFR at 23. R. 571, 573. On
examination, White had normal strength, sensation, gait, and
movement of extremities. Dr. Yu started White on daily
insulin and sent the lab results to Dr. Lawrence Smith, M.D.,
at the Central Illinois Kidney & Dialysis Association in
Springfield, Illinois. R. 539; see R. 498.
26, 2011, White saw Dr. Smith, M.D. His creatinine level had
stabilized in the 2.5-2.8 range. White had switched to
insulin for his diabetes medications. On examination, White
had some edema in his lower extremities. His lab results from
May 20, 2011 showed potassium at 5.1 and creatinine at 2.8.
Dr. Smith assessed that White had stable potassium parameters
after the April 30, 2011 dialysis. Dr. Smith assessed mild
edema. Dr. Smith emphasized staying on a no added salt diet.
15, 2011, White saw Dr. Yu for blood tests and follow up on
his kidney disease. White reported that he felt
“ok.” R. 535. Blood tests showed potassium at
4.4, glucose at 207, GFR of 29, creatinine at 2.36, and BUN
at 33. R. 566, 570. On examination, White's gait and
station were normal; his joints, bones, and muscles were
normal; and his reflexes and sensation were normal. R. 536.
Dr. Yu directed that the lab results be sent to Dr. Smith. R.
21, 2011, White saw Dr. Smith. White looked well at the
appointment. On examination, White had bilateral edema in the
lower extremities. His potassium was 4.4 and his creatinine
was 2.3. Dr. Smith assessed probable underlying diabetic
nephropathy. R. 497, 979.
same day, June 21, 2011, White completed a Function
Report-Adult form. R. 223-30. White said he could not work
because he became dizzy and weak in his legs and arms. R.
223. White said he spent a typical day doing housework,
watching television, and going to the doctor. White said he
could take care of his personal care. R. 224. He prepared
sandwiches and small meals on a daily basis. He loaded the
dishwasher and laundry machines, and made small household
repairs. R. 225. He went outside every day and shopped once a
week for about an hour. R. 226. He went to the homes of
others to socialize. R. 227. He said that his impairments
limited his ability to lift, stand, walk, kneel, and climb
stairs. He said he finished what he started, and he could
follow written and spoken instructions. He said that he got
along with authority figures. R. 229.
26, 2011, White saw Dr. Yu for recheck of his diabetes. White
said that his blood sugars were running high. White had an
abscess behind the right ear that would not heal. R. 532.
Blood tests showed potassium at 4.9, glucose at 305, GFR at
36, creatinine at 1.96, and BUN at 29. R. 563-64. On
examination, White's gait and station were normal; his
bones, joints, and muscles were normal; and his reflexes and
sensation were normal. R. 533. Dr. Yu prescribed Augmentin
for the abscess and noted that White's insulin dosage
would probably need to be increased. R. 534
September 12, 2011, White had blood tests. The tests showed
potassium at 4.8, glucose at 149, GFR at 37, creatinine at
1.9, and BUN at 28. R. 738-39.
September 19, 2011, White saw Dr. Ashraf Tamizuddin, M.D., at
the Central Illinois Kidney & Dialysis Association. White
reported that he felt well. He reported occasional ankle
swelling. His lab results showed BUN at 28, creatinine at
1.9, potassium at 4.8, and GFR at 37. Dr. Tamizuddin assessed
stage IV chronic kidney disease with progressive improvement
in creatinine after the acute renal failure on April 30,
2011. Dr. Tamizuddin stated that White was stable from a
nephrology perspective. Dr. Tamizuddin recommended that White
lose weight. R. 496.
November 2, 2011, White saw Dr. Yu. White reported that an
alarm on his BiPAP machine was going off constantly at night
and interfered with his sleep. White reported that he was
having daytime sleepiness. White reported increasing problems
with numbness and tingling in his feet. He reported
increasing problems standing and walking. He also reported
joint pain and stiffness. R. 528. On examination, White's
gait and ...