The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana recently overturned Aetna Life Insurance Company’s denial of long term disability benefits to Kimberly Garner, an O’Ryan Law Firm client who was forced to leave her job as an Amazon fulfillment center associate after complications from surgery left her with severe and persistent urinary incontinence. The Court’s opinion, written by Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, is the result of several months of zealous litigation by the O’Ryan Law Firm on behalf of Ms. Garner. 
After several years of working for Amazon, Ms. Garner underwent a surgical procedure that unfortunately caused her to suffer from severe mixed urinary incontinence – meaning she experienced severe and uncontrolled leakage of urine during physical activity or exertion, and due to involuntary and unpredictable spasms of the bladder muscles. Sophisticated diagnostic imaging and testing procedures confirmed that Ms. Garner’s incontinence was severe and uncontrolled. Although she was prescribed various medications and underwent several follow-up procedures intended to address her profound incontinence, including Botox injections and cystoscopy, Ms. Garner experienced no relief from this incredibly frustrating, embarrassing, and debilitating condition.
Although Ms. Garner attempted to return to work, she found herself unable to make it through the day without numerous emergency trips to the bathroom, and frequently had to leave her work area to change clothes when her leakage came on so quickly and unexpectedly that she was unable to reach the bathroom in time. Ultimately, she was forced to leave her job due to her medical condition, and she applied for disability benefits under the policy that Amazon provided through Aetna. Her primary care physician referred her to urogynecologist Dr. Douglass Hale for a specialist’s opinion, and he suggested an implantation of an InterStim device – a last-resort procedure in which electrodes are implanted on the nerves controlling the bladder, in an attempt to prevent the bladder from involuntarily emptying. Unfortunately, because she lost her health insurance when she was forced to leave her job, she was unable to afford the procedure.