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ABRAMS v. PHILADELPHIA SUBURBAN TRANSPORTATION COMPANY (04/22/70)

decided: April 22, 1970.

ABRAMS
v.
PHILADELPHIA SUBURBAN TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, No. 685 of 1968, in case of Benjamin Abrams et ux. v. Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company.

COUNSEL

Robert B. Surrick, with him Cramp & D'Iorio, for appellant.

Rodger L. Mutzel, with him Kassab, Cherry, Curran & Archbold, for appellees.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen.

Author: Eagen

[ 438 Pa. Page 116]

Jennie Abrams, the wife-plaintiff in this action of trespass, was a passenger on a trolley car of the defendant when it was struck from the rear by another trolley car of the defendant. She suffered injuries in the accident and this action for damages on her own behalf and that of her husband followed. A jury trial resulted in a verdict for the plaintiffs.

Jennie Abrams was awarded $20,000 and her husband $6987.65.*fn1 Motions for judgment not withstanding the verdict or a new trial were filed and subsequently overruled. From the judgments entered on the verdict, the defendant appeals.

That the issue of liability was properly for the jury's determination is not now questioned. Appellant contends only that errors in the trial proceedings require a new trial.

In the course of the accident, Jennie Abrams sustained a hard blow to her left wrist and, as a result,

[ 438 Pa. Page 117]

    her wrist was severely bruised.*fn2 For many months following the occurrence, she was under the care of Dr. D. Richard Florio, an osteopathic physician. The injured wrist failed to respond to the treatments prescribed by Dr. Florio, and several weeks later a ganglion (a cyst or tumor filled with liquid) developed in the injured area. Dr. Florio finally recommended surgery and referred the patient to Dr. E. Dallett Sharpless, a surgeon, who removed the ganglion by operative procedure about five months after the accident. For his service, Dr. Sharpless submitted a bill for $120. Bills for services rendered in connection with the operation were also submitted by the attending anesthesiologist and the hospital.

As a witness for the plaintiffs at trial, Dr. Florio unequivocally testified that the ganglion was caused by the trauma to the wrist suffered in the accident. He also stated that removal thereof by surgery was necessary and that the charge of Dr. Sharpless was fair and reasonable for the service performed. At the conclusion of his testimony, Dr. Florio's bill for the services he personally rendered, as well as the bills of Dr. Sharpless, the anesthesiologist and the hospital were offered and received in evidence without objection.

The plaintiffs did not call Dr. Sharpless as a witness, but the defendant did. He expressed the opinion that a single act of trauma cannot cause a ganglion, and that therefore Jennie Abram's ganglion was not the result of the accident involved. He persisted in this position, although he admitted on cross-examination that certain well-recognized medical ...


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