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SORBY v. THREE RIVERS MOTORS. (05/25/55)

May 25, 1955

SORBY, APPELLANT,
v.
THREE RIVERS MOTORS.



Appeal, No. 168, April T., 1954, from order of County Court of Allegheny County, 1953, No. A 1020, in case of Gertrude Alice Sorby (Gamert) v. Three Rivers Motors and Maryland Casualty Company. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Louis Vaira, with him Albert G. Brown, for appellant.

Irwin M. Ringold, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Ross, Gunther, Wright, Woodside and Ervin, JJ.

Author: Ross

[ 178 Pa. Super. Page 188]

OPINION BY ROSS, J.

In this workmen's compensation case the claimant has appealed from the dismissal of her petition to modify an award for partial disability.

On March 24, 1944 claimant suffered an injury to her lower back in an accident in the course of her employment as a mechanic's helper in defendant's shop. Total disability payments were made from December 21, 1944 to January 3, 1945 and from August 23, 1945 to July 2, 1947, payments having been suspended from January 4, 1945 to July 2, 1945 because she worked without any loss of earnings. On July 14, 1947 the employer filed a termination petition and by stipulation and agreement the claimant was paid 50 per cent. partial disability thereafter until May 8, 1951, the end of the 300-week maximum.

On June 6, 1951 claimant began the instant proceeding by a petition for modification from 50 per cent. partial to total disability. The referee dismissed this petition and the Workmen's Compensation Board, because of the conflict in medical testimony, remanded the record for the appointment of an impartial orthopedic

[ 178 Pa. Super. Page 189]

    specialist. Testimony of this impartial specialist was taken; the petition was again dismissed by the referee, who was sustained by both the Board and the County Court of Allegheny County, and this appeal followed.

A review of the record indicates that the claimant suffered an injury to the small of her back when a large sign which she was painting slipped from its props and fell upon her. She was treated by a Dr. Wagner for the injury and in 1950 he operated upon her for a herniated disc but found none. Claimant testified that she has had difficulty since the operation doing her housework, especially the ironing, difficulty in walking, pain in her back while standing and trouble getting in and out of bed. Three doctors testified in this matter. They are in substantial agreement concerning the symptoms and the actual physical extent of the injury. They differ, however, in their medical opinions of the ability of the claimant to participate in gainful employment. They are agreed that the claimant suffers a marked stiffness of her back with the limitations in the forward, right and left lateral bending motions, ranging from 10 to 50 per cent. of normal, that there is some rotational curvature of the lower spine and some changes of bone structure. They did not agree on the benefits which might be derived from further treatment or surgery.

Dr. Browdie, who testified on behalf of the claimant, concluded that "... she still has residual clinical evidences of low back disability, which are permanent. She is disabled, in fact, for gainful employment, and will remain so." Dr. Ewing, who testified on behalf of the employer, concluded that although there is a considerable degree of disability, "I think she should be ...


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