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PHILOMENA SCANNELLA v. SALERNO IMPORTING COMPANY AND AETNA CASUALTY & SURETY CO. (04/13/71)

decided: April 13, 1971.

PHILOMENA SCANNELLA
v.
SALERNO IMPORTING COMPANY AND AETNA CASUALTY & SURETY CO.



Appeal from the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, No. 4142 March Term, 1970, in case of Philomena Scannella, Claimant, v. Salerno Importing Company and Aetna Casualty and Surety Company.

COUNSEL

Charles F. Quinn, with him Sheer, Mazzocone & Quinn, for appellant.

David F. Kaliner, with him Kaliner & Joseph, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman, and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Kramer.

Author: Kramer

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 12]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County affirming the adjudication of the Workmen's Compensation Board (Board). The Board affirmed the determination of its referee to dismiss appellant's fatal claim petition for benefits arising out of the death of her husband, Edward Scannella. The pertinent facts are that Edward Scannella (employee), the deceased husband of

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 13]

Philomena Scannella (appellant), was hired as a salesman by the Salerno Importing Company (appellee-employer) on January 20, 1964. The employee's job entailed traveling in his automobile to the customers of the employer to sell bottled and canned foods. On February 19, 1964, the decedent left for work in good spirits and without any apparent illness but returned home at noon complaining of pains in his chest. On that same date he was taken to the hospital, where he died at 12:17 A.M., February 20, 1964.

An autopsy was performed the day after his death, and the pathologist summarized the cause of death as "acute myocardial infarction." The autopsy report also discloses associated diagnoses as (1) ventricular rupture, (2) hemopericardium, and (3) essential hypertension.

The appellant presents three arguments on her appeal to this Court seeking a reversal of the court below. First, she states that it was a reversible error of law for the Board to allow into evidence for its consideration statements made by the decedent to medical personnel. These statements were then transcribed onto the hospital records. This evidence was used to impeach the credibility of the appellant-claimant. Second, it is submitted that the Board was guilty of a capricious disregard of competent evidence in misstating the cause of death. Lastly, that the "Unusual Pathological Result Doctrine" should have applied in this case.

In considering the first point of appellant's argument the record discloses that the appellant attempted to establish that her husband was acting in the course of his duties of employment at the time of his exertion, and that this exertion was the direct cause of his death on February 20, 1964. Appellant testified that at noon of the day her husband became ill, he returned home

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 14]

    carrying a heavy box containing large cans of food in addition to his sample case. She stated that his complexion was grey, that he complained of pains in his chest, and that he had complained of lifting the heavy box. The appellee in its case presented the entire hospital record, which included three different and separate statements written by a doctor and two interns to the effect that the decedent in describing his symptoms and complaints disclosed that he had experienced pain from "brushing snow off his car", "after changing a tire this a.m.", and "after brushing the snow off his car ...


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