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ROSENBERRY BROTHERS LUMBER CO. AND PENNSYLVANIA NATIONAL MUTUAL CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/23/78)

decided: June 23, 1978.

ROSENBERRY BROTHERS LUMBER CO. AND PENNSYLVANIA NATIONAL MUTUAL CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, INSURANCE CARRIER, PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND WILLIAM F. PRICE, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of William F. Price v. Rosenberry Brothers Lumber Co., No. A-71780.

COUNSEL

George S. Black, with him, of counsel, Black & Davison, for petitioners.

Kenneth E. Hankins, Jr., and James N. Diefenderfer, for respondents.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 284]

Rosenberry Brothers Lumber Co. (Employer) and Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company (Carrier) appeal a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) upholding a referee's award of benefits to William F. Price (Claimant).

The uncontroverted facts are as follows. While in the course of his employment as a lumberman on September 24, 1975, Claimant bent over to pick up a chain saw. As he stood up, he felt a sharp chest pain. After resting briefly, Claimant notified his foreman who took him home. Claimant did not return to work thereafter but was admitted to the hospital on September 27, 1975. He testified that chest pains had continued on the two days prior to his admission to the hospital. He was treated both in the hospital and subsequent

[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 285]

    to his release by Dr. Dittmar who testified on Claimant's behalf at the hearing before the referee.

Dr. Dittmar testified that after his initial examination, he was able to diagnose Claimant's complaint as "anterior lateral myocardial infarction, acute." He further stated that Claimant was a high risk subject for heart disease based on his evaluation of Claimant's personal and medical history. This witness next described one possible cause of myocardial infarction, namely the Valsalva effect, which he described as a result of the increased pressure on an individual's arteries. Dr. Dittmar, in response to a question of Claimant's attorney as to whether or not the Valsalva effect could have resulted in Claimant's condition, testified:

First the man is a risk. . . . Add to that the risk of diabetes out of control [from which Claimant suffered], because the man had no treatment for diabetes at that time. Add to that he had been working, I don't know the work, but this occurred just around noon. Second he presented the history of not bothering to eat lunch. He kept on working. We never took account of lunch. He is working hard. He bends over to pick up a heavy chain saw; and as he did so, and this is my reason for using the Valsalva effect, he has a stout tummy . . . he bends over causing pressure down to the ground to pick it up. That may have been the impetus that started this chain of events going, and he fell to the ground immediately. . . . (Emphasis added.)

On cross-examination, after recognizing that he did not see Claimant until three days after the occurrence described above, Dr. ...


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