Appeals from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of George T. Steinle v. Borough of Yeadon, No. A-72369.
Michael A. Paul, with him Richard, Brian, DiSanti & Hamilton, for George T. Steinle.
Michael P. McKenna, for Borough of Yeadon.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 242]
This case involves cross appeals by the petitioner (claimant) and his employer, the Borough of Yeadon (Borough), from an amended order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed,
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 243]
as modified, the referee's award of compensation to the claimant. We affirm.
On April 26, 1974, claimant, employed for 20 years as a police officer for the Borough, reported to work for the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, having been informed by officers of the day shift that incidents of racial violence had occurred at the high school and that other incidents were expected that night. As officer in charge of the shift, claimant requested his superiors add extra men, but to no avail. Anxious and apprehensive of serious racial violence, claimant began his routine patrol alone in a patrol car when about 7:30 p.m. he experienced severe chest pains and shortness of breath and began sweating profusely. He returned to headquarters to rest, but shortly thereafter drove himself to the hospital where he was admitted after an electrocardiogram was administered which indicated an abnormal coronary insufficiency. Claimant was hospitalized from April 26 to May 10, 1974; he was discharged with the diagnosis of "coronary insufficiency without atherosclerosis." On the advice of his physician, claimant has not returned to work.
For a period of 13 weeks after the April 26 incident, claimant received his full salary from the Borough minus deductions, having signed over to the Borough weekly accident and sickness benefits of $150 from the Borough's disability insurer. Thereafter, claimant received weekly checks from the Borough representing 75 per cent of his salary ($191.39). All of these payments were in accordance with the terms of a collective bargaining agreement between the police department and the Borough.
On October 16, 1974, claimant filed a petition for workmen's compensation benefits,*fn1 the Borough denied a compensable injury had occurred, and two hearings
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 244]
were subsequently held. The only testimony presented to the referee was that of the claimant, the claimant's treating physician and the Borough's medical witness who had examined the claimant about a year after the April 26 incident. Claimant's treating physician testified that claimant suffered from an ischemic heart condition and that on April 26 claimant had suffered what the physician described as an "almost heart attack" characterized by a spasm of the heart arteries which caused an insufficient supply of blood to the heart muscle. This condition, the physician testified, was caused by emotional stress engendered by the threat of racial violence that night; the physician further testified that these spasms would likely recur if claimant continued to be subject to the stressful ...