Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Madeline F. Kearns v. Butler County Memorial Hospital, No. A-68074.
Corwyn M. Coulter, with him Coulter, Gilchrist, Dillon & McCandless, for appellants.
Robert F. Hawk, with him James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr. and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Kramer.
[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 574]
This is an appeal filed by the Butler County Memorial Hospital (Butler Hospital) from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) dated May 23, 1974, in which the Board affirmed a referee's award of workmen's compensation to Madeline F. Kearns (Kearns).
Kearns had been employed by Butler Hospital as a nurse's aide for about five years, to April 18, 1973. At about 5:30 in the evening on that date, while lifting a 150 pound patient from a wheelchair to a hospital bed, she experienced a numbness in her lower back, and within ten minutes experienced such severe pain that she was sent by a supervising nurse of the Butler Hospital to the hospital's emergency room for treatment. After a treatment in the emergency room, which included a shot of demerol, Kearns was sent home, but the pain was so severe she telephoned the hospital and was instructed to return for treatment, which she did at about 7:30 P.M. on that same date. She remained in the hospital receiving treatment for her lower back injury for about one month, and was discharged on May 17, 1973. She continued to receive medical treatment for her back injury and later was admitted to St. Francis General Hospital in Pittsburgh on September 5, 1973 and stayed there until September 10, 1973. The record also indicates that Kearns had prior back trouble for which she had undergone a laminectomy in 1972, which had permitted her to continue working until the time of the incident on April 18, 1973. The record further indicates that she had consulted physicians concerning pains in her legs, arms and back at
[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 575]
various times, one of which was nine days before April 18, 1973. She received treatment for such pains.
On July 2, 1973, Kearns filed a claim petition to which Butler Hospital filed an answer denying that an injury had occurred on April 18, 1973, and generally denying all of the allegations concerning the causal connection and any treatment therefor. A hearing was held before a referee, who, in his adjudication, found that Kearns was totally disabled as a result of her lumbosacral strain injuries received in "an industrial accident on April 18, 1972." Compensation was awarded. Both Butler Hospital and its insurance carrier filed an appeal with the Board in which it was alleged that there was not substantial evidence in the record to support the referee's adjudication. In addition, Butler Hospital contended that while Kearns was in the Butler Hospital during April and May of 1973, she had received certain other treatment for a condition wholly unrelated to her injury and that, therefore, the referee's award, which included the total hospital bill, was improper. The Board, after reviewing the record, concluded that the referee's findings were supported by competent evidence and affirmed without mentioning the problem concerning the unrelated treatment.
In its appeal to this Court, Butler Hospital again contends that there is not substantial evidence in the record to support the conclusion of the Board that Kearns suffered a totally disabling compensable injury. In addition, Butler Hospital once again raises the issue of whether the hospital bills presented were wholly applicable to the injuries suffered by Kearns.
Our scope of review in workmen's compensation cases when the party having the burden of proof has prevailed below is limited to a determination of whether constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed, or any necessary finding of fact was not supported by substantial evidence. Airco ...