Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Guinevere O. Levato v. Columbus Service International, No. A-67463.
Raymond F. Keisling, with him Will & Keisling, for appellants.
John Alan Conte, with him Terry C. Cavanaugh, Conte, Courtney, Tarasi & Price, and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr. and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 442]
Guinevere O. Levato (claimant) was employed at Dixmont State Hospital as a cleaning lady. During the regular course of her employment she was often required to lift large heavy buckets of water and to move rather heavy furniture about. On December 21, 1971, while on duty, claimant allegedly injured her back when she attempted to move a bed in order to clean beneath it. The bed had no casters and held a 155-pound woman. Because some spilt cereal made the bed stick in place, claimant had to "jerk it out" from the wall. While "jerking," she felt a sharp pain in her back and partially collapsed to the floor. After recovering her stance, she reported the incident to her supervisor and continued her duties. Up until this time, she had experienced no problems with her back. From December 21, 1971 until February
[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 44324]
, 1972, claimant experienced some continuous pain and she followed a program of "home doctoring" while still attending her normal duties.*fn1
On February 25, 1972, the pain became unbearable and claimant quit her job and sought professional help from Dr. J. P. Yukevich. Dr. Yukevich, after ordering x-rays and attending to claimant on two occasions, referred claimant to Dr. Charles V. Baltic, Jr., an orthopedic specialist. Dr. Baltic ordered therapy treatments twice a week from June 29, 1972 until August 22, 1972. Dr. Baltic also prescribed a pain reliever and a home exercise program. On August 31, 1972, claimant was examined by appellant's physician, Dr. Norman Minde, a general practitioner.
Sometime in October 1972 -- the date is unclear in the record -- claimant experienced a sharp pain in her back when doing her housecleaning. On November 1, 1972, she was evaluated by Dr. David E. Foss, an orthopedic surgeon. After this appointment, claimant again suffered a renewal of pain while housecleaning. On February 21, 1973, claimant again consulted Dr. Foss and the following day she underwent a back manipulation under sodium pentothal at Allegheny General Hospital.
Proceedings were instituted on July 5, 1972 by the filing of a claim petition under The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act.*fn2 Columbus Service International filed an answer denying that claimant suffered an accident or sustained any disability. The referee held hearings on September 26, 1972 and April 26, 1973. Neither Dr. Baltic nor Dr. Yukevich was called.*fn3 On August 3, 1973, the referee awarded benefits of $36.80
[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 444]
per week for total disability and $23.66 for a short period of partial disability. The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, without taking ...