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BIROSAK v. SHAWNEE INN ET AL. (09/13/62)

September 13, 1962

BIROSAK
v.
SHAWNEE INN ET AL., APPELLANTS.



Appeal, No. 29, Feb. T., 1962, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, Oct. T., 1961, No. 1092, in case of Helen Birosak v. Shawnee Inn et al. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Raymond F. Lowery, for appellants.

Joseph P. Olexy, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ.

Author: Ervin

[ 198 Pa. Super. Page 653]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

In this workmen's compensation case the referee, the board and the court below all agreed that the claim

[ 198 Pa. Super. Page 654]

    should be allowed. The employer and its insurance carrier filed this appeal.

On August 18, 1955 Hurricane Diane struck the Pocono Mountain area and on August 19, 1955, as a result of the rains incident thereto, the premises of Shawnee Inn became flooded. The testimony clearly discloses that all of the housekeeping employees, including decedent, who was a houseman or porter with duties to clean and take care of the dining room, under the emergency conditions then prevailing, were engaged in carrying furnishings from the lower lobby or first floor to the main or second floor of the hotel. They continued in this task until the flood waters were up to their chins. When the waters receded on August 21 a number of the employees were engaged in cleaning a number of the employees were engaged in cleaning up the mud, muck and debris of the flood. It is not at work. He expressed his intention in a letter to his wife, postmarked at Shawnee on August 22, 1955, to do so but he became ill and it is doubtful whether he did very much, if anything, in helping to clean the premises. He returned to his home in West Pittston, where his wife bathed his feet and legs, which were covered with mud up to his knees. On August 25, 1955 Dr. J. W. Testa began treating him and continued to do so until September 8, 1955, when he had him admitted to the hospital, where he died on September 10, 1955.

When the doctor first saw decedent he was running a high fever, had a cough and shortness of breath and he had rales in the base of the right lung. The doctor diagnosed his condition as lobar pneumonia of the right side of the lungs. The doctor testified that the decedent was progressing all right for awhile, his fever went down and then he began getting markedly short of breath and he began to note some swelling on the lower extremities. This indicated to the doctor that there was some cardiac disturbance. Dr. Testa saw the

[ 198 Pa. Super. Page 655]

    decedent on August 25, 26, 27, 29, 31, September 3, 5 and 8, 1955. Dr. Testa did not see the decedent when he was in the hospital. Dr. Testa testified as follows: "Q. Doctor, what is your opinion as to the cause of death? A. I don't think it was coronary heart disease. I think it was the effect of the pneumonia. The heart was - the pneumonia he had, the heart was damaged and finally he got heart failure. Q. So, he died of a heart failure, then, in your opinion, which resulted from the strain put on it by the pneumonia? A. Yes, sir." He also testified that it was his opinion that he contracted the pneumonia ...


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