Briana Treptow, a college-educated divorced mother of one, worked as an office manager at a medical clinic. At age 48, she developed acute symptoms of confusion, forgetfulness, nausea and vomiting. She was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, and surgery was performed to insert a clip at the base of the aneurysm to close it off. After the surgery, she continued to experience memory problems and confusion, but she attempted to return to work. She was offered a part-time position as a receptionist at the clinic, but even with the reduced hours and responsibilities, she could not. She resigned after three months.
The following year, Treptow needed a second surgery to have a shunt placed in her brain to drain fluid. Five months later, a third surgery was performed to insert another clip because the aneurysm was filling with blood again. After that surgery, Treptow suffered a stroke. She was hospitalized for three weeks. She began experiencing partial seizures, and an EEG showed epilepsy.
Treptow filed for Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Insurance Income. She was denied benefits at application and again at reconsideration. She asked Attorney Neil H. Good to represent her at a hearing before a Social Security Administration Administrative Law Judge.
In his prehearing memorandum, Attorney Good presented the history of her three brain surgeries, the stroke and her seizures. He also detailed the impairments caused by the repeated damage to her brain. Treptow had lost 87 pounds in one year due to jaw pain and the loss of her sense of taste. She continued to experience headaches, nausea and vomiting. Her left side was numb. Her hands shook, and she had decreased ability to grasp her hands. She couldn’t stand for more than five minutes or sit for more than 30 minutes. She had vision loss in her right eye. She couldn’t drive, and she had difficulty reading and writing.
Treptow also showed mental changes. She was assessed with diminished higher-order brain function. She had memory and concentration loss. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety. She had been hospitalized three times for substance abuse. She experienced visual hallucinations. Trepkow needed family assistance to function on a daily basis.
The Administrative Law Judge ruled, “I found you disabled … because of partial complex seizures so severe that your impairments medically equals the requirements of one of the impairments listed in the Listing of Impairments.” Briana Treptow was granted Social Security Disability benefits based on her contributions to Social Security, and she was allowed Supplemental Security Income in accordance with her financial need.