No. 480 October Term, 1976 Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Civil Action No. 70-4468.
S. Regan Ginsburg, Philadelphia, with him Leonard F. Markel, Jr., Norristown, for appellant.
Ralph L. Hose, Ardmore, for appellee.
Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Watkins, President Judge, absent.
[ 245 Pa. Super. Page 509]
This is an appeal from the denial of a new trial, following a jury verdict in favor of appellee hospital.*fn1 Appellant contends that the lower court committed reversible error in its charge to the jury.*fn2 We affirm the order of the lower court.
[ 245 Pa. Super. Page 510]
It is necessary to outline appellant's pre-existing condition in order to understand the accident in question. Appellant sustained a fracture of the left hip in May, 1965. A doctor performed an open reduction of the hip, which required the use of pins to unite the bones. In March, 1967, Dr. Hal E. Snedden performed corrective surgery on the fracture. Subsequently, in June of 1968, Dr. Snedden again operated on appellant's hip. In the second operation he removed the head of the femur because it had died and was fragmenting, causing severe pain to appellant. Appellant is an elderly woman whose activity is limited as a result of her disability, and whose bones have softened due to a lack of calcium. Thus, recovery was slow. By July of 1969, appellant was able to use a walker to move about. At that time, Dr. Snedden recommended that she begin physical therapy three times a week in order to learn to walk with a cane. The therapy consisted of abduction exercises and gait training*fn3 at the physical therapy room of the Bryn Mawr Hospital, Montgomery County.
Mrs. MacPherson, the chief physical therapist at Bryn Mawr Hospital, functioned as appellant's therapist. During the treatment, appellant walked through parallel bars, and practiced with a cane in gait therapy. By August 25, 1969, appellant could walk alone with the cane.
On August 25, 1969, appellant fell at the Bryn Mawr Hospital while in the therapy room. She fractured her left leg and arm. The testimony of appellant and appellee's agent on the events of that day is conflicting. Appellant arrived at Bryn Mawr Hospital for therapy. Mrs. MacPherson first instructed appellant to walk through the parallel bars several times. Appellant stated
[ 245 Pa. Super. Page 511]
that she then took several steps outside the parallel bars using her cane. Appellant also stated that at the time of the fall, Mrs. MacPherson was fifteen feet away, in the doorway of the room and was conversing with another person. Mrs. MacPherson testified that appellant only walked back and forth in the parallel bars prior to the fall, and that she was within four or five feet of appellant at the time of the fall.
Appellant called Dr. Snedden as a witness at trial as her treating physician. He testified on cross-examination that in his opinion, the fracture of appellant's leg was a stress or spontaneous fracture. He stated that because of appellant's loss ...