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WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA AND BETHLEHEM STEEL COMPANY v. GILBERT GRIFFITH (02/16/77)

decided: February 16, 1977.

WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA AND BETHLEHEM STEEL COMPANY
v.
GILBERT GRIFFITH, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Gilbert Griffith v. Bethlehem Steel Company, No. A-69321.

COUNSEL

Robert S. Glass, with him Glass and Glass, for appellant.

Robert G. Rose, with him Spence, Custer, Saylor, Wolfe & Rose, and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 624]

Gilbert Griffith has appealed an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which denied him benefits under The Pennsylvania Workmen's

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 625]

Compensation Act*fn1 (Act). The Board upheld a referee's determination that Griffith had not proved that an accident which he suffered in June 1957 was the cause of an eye infection which erupted in October 1960 and that, in any event, since Griffith had not filed a claim petition within sixteen months of the accident, he was therefore barred from pressing his claim by Section 315 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 602.

On June 26, 1957, Griffith was engaged in placing white-hot rivets in holes where they would be held by a co-worker and driven into place by another co-worker. While so engaged, Griffith was struck in the right eye by the tool used to hold the hot rivets. He was taken to the employer's dispensary and from there sent to an ophthalmologist, apparently used by the employer in such situations, for further examination and treatment.

The ophthalmologist, Dr. Michael Sivulich, examined the denuded corneal epithelium as well as the burned eyelids and adnexa. In particular, he performed a microscopic examination of the cornea to determine whether it had been penetrated by a foreign body. Finding no evidence of intraocular penetration, Dr. Sivulich treated the above conditions and released Griffith, who returned to work two days later.

The record indicates that Dr. Sivulich next saw Griffith in October 1960.*fn2 at which time Griffith's right eye was infected. When the eye did not respond to treatment, Dr. Sivulich ordered X-rays. These revealed the presence of an intraocular foreign body, the oxidation of which was the apparent cause of the intractable

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 626]

    infection. Attempts to remove the foreign body failed, and the eye had to be surgically removed on December 28, 1960. On February 24, 1961, Griffith filed a claim petition, alleging that the intraocular foreign body ...


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