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TALLMAN v. FLOREY. (07/21/55)

July 21, 1955

TALLMAN, APPELLANT,
v.
FLOREY.



Appeal, No. 7, Feb. T., 1954, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Jan. T., 1953, No. 900, in case of Luella Tallman v. Stanley Florey. Judgment affirmed; reargument refused August 15, 1955. Appeal by claimant from decision of Workmen's Compensation Board refusing award.

COUNSEL

Milton J. Kolansky, for appellant.

James W. Scanlon, with him David J. Conroy, for appellee.

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

Author: Gunther

[ 179 Pa. Super. Page 355]

OPINION BY GUNTHER, J.

In this workmen's compensation case, decedent was injured on March 19, 1951, and died May 25, 1951. The referee made a reward in favor of the widow. The board reversed the referee, the court below affirmed the decision of the board and the widow took this appeal. There is no question that the accident occurred

[ 179 Pa. Super. Page 356]

    in the course of employment but the issue is whether a casual connection was established between accident and death. Decedent was struck on the leg by a hammer resulting in thrombophlebitis or a blood clot in the veins of the leg. On April 21, 1951, he suffered a cerebral embolism from which he died on May 25, 1951.

Claimant offered two medical experts. Dr. Vridel treated decedent from the time of the accident until the end of March and testified that a blood clot had passed from the leg through the blood stream to the head, resulting in the fatal stroke. Dr. Brundage, who attended decedent from early April until his death, testified that death was due to cerebral embolism caused by the accident. He admitted that prior to the stroke, decedent had some degree of arteriosclerosis, and that it is impossible for a blood clot to go from the leg to the brain. The defendant called a medical expert, Dr. O'Malley, who examined decedent before death and testified that in his opinion death was due solely to a cerebral stroke and that it was impossible for a clot in the leg to circulate up to the brain.

The board accepted the opinion of defendant's doctor, especially since the attending physician, Dr. Brundage, agreed that a clot could not travel from leg to brain. As noted by the court below, Dr. Brundage believed, nevertheless, that the death was connected to the injury but gave no reason. The only medical testimony, therefore, to sustain a casual connection was that of Dr. Uridel, who held that clot could pass to the brain.

In this case where the decision of the board is against the party having the burden of proof, the claimant here, the scope of appellate review is limited to ascertaining whether the board's findings of fact ...


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