Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, in case of Prince E. Hunter v. Penn Galvanizing Company and Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Company, No. 3214 September Term, 1971.
Cassandra Maxwell Birnie, for appellant.
Howard M. Ellner, with him John F. McElvenny and James Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 481]
Prince E. Hunter, the claimant in this case under The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act, Act of June 21, 1939, P.L. 566, 77 P.S. § 1201 et seq., has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County affirming a decision and order of the Workmen's Compensation Board denying compensation. The Board vacated a referee's findings, substituted its own and reversed an award made by the referee.*fn1
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 482]
Mr. Hunter was employed for 26 years by Penn Galvanizing Company in its steel processing plant. His work was conducted in a factory where steel sheets were cleaned by sandblasting and additionally cleaned and "pickled" by their immersion in large tanks containing hot water mixed variously with carbolic acid, cyanide, lime, caustic soda and possibly other substances. The sandblasting produced dust and the immersion of the plates caused fumes. On July 12, 1968 Hunter became ill while on the job and has not worked since. He has been hospitalized several times since July 1968 and is being treated for pulmonary complaints.
The claimant's treating physician testified that the claimant suffers from "pneumonitis, probable silicosis, bilateral diffused interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, compensatory emphysema and arteriosclerotic cardio-vascular disease, with early evidence of heart strain, cor pulmonale."*fn2 He expressed the opinion that "[t]here is a direct causal relationship between the . . . years
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 483]
of working in an environment of sandblasting, acid and other fumes and his present pneumoconiosis*fn3 and pulmonary fibrosis."
The defendants' examining physician, a board certified internist with special training in pulmonary diseases, found the claimant to have "a slight process of fibrotic scarring in both lungs" and "coronary artery disease." He diagnosed the claimant's condition as "pulmonary fibrosis, cause unknown" and as "[A] natural disease process and definitely not related to the exposure to the claimant's occupational environment." This expert indicated that the claimant's fibrosis could be the result of many causes including air pollution, carbon dioxide in the air, exposure to virus, fungus, or numerous diseases. He held the opinion that the claimant was not suffering from pneumoconiosis because, as both doctors agreed, the claimant's condition of pulmonary fibrosis improved from time to time, which does not occur with pneumoconiosis. This doctor also believed that the claimant's pulmonary problems alone caused little disability.
The claimant's evidence did not establish that he was afflicted with any of the occupational diseases specifically named in section 108 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 1208.*fn4 He was, therefore, required to bring his case ...