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DOROTHY MCPHILLIPS v. SCHOOL DISTRICT PHILADELPHIA (01/30/79)

decided: January 30, 1979.

DOROTHY MCPHILLIPS, APPELLANT
v.
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Dorothy McPhillips v. School District of Philadelphia, No. 3761 June Term, 1970.

COUNSEL

James M. Penny, Jr., with him Penny, Hinman and Bevilacqua, for appellant.

Robert T. Lear, Assistant Counsel, with him Eugene F. Brazil, General Counsel, for appellee.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 40 Pa. Commw. Page 205]

Gerald McPhillips (McPhillips), an employee of the School District of Philadelphia (Employer), died on February 15, 1967. He was 47 years of age at the time of his death. McPhillips had been a supervisor

[ 40 Pa. Commw. Page 206]

    in the Employer's payroll department for many years. Between January of 1966, and the date of his death, McPhillips had worked many hours of overtime including occasional seven day work weeks and frequent late evening work. Prior to seeing a physician on February 13, 1967, McPhillips worked 21 consecutive days, 16 to 18 hours on each day.

At his wife's insistence, McPhillips saw Dr. Sackett, an internist, on February 13, 1967, because he was having pain in his left arm. The doctor concluded that McPhillips was " probably " suffering from angina pectoris. The doctor prescribed medication and 10 days of complete bed rest with bathroom privileges. McPhillips had no previous history of coronary illness with his physician.

On the morning of February 14, McPhillips went back to work at his regular time and remained there for a short period. That same evening he bowled for his bowling team. According to his wife's testimony, it is possible that McPhillips went back to work after he bowled. He did not go to work the next day, but he was downstairs for lunch and went back upstairs to lie down after he had eaten. Shortly thereafter he became ill and died within a few hours.

McPhillips' widow, Dorothy McPhillips (Claimant), filed a fatal claim petition on behalf of herself and her minor son. The referee found that McPhillips died as the result of an industrial accident or from overexertion in the course of his employment. On appeal the Workmen's Compensation Board (Board) reversed the referee and denied benefits holding that there was no unequivocal medical testimony to establish a causal connection between the strain of McPhillips' employment and his heart condition and subsequent death. The Board's order was affirmed by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Claimant has appealed to this Court from that order.

[ 40 Pa. Commw. Page 207]

Claimant argues to us that McPhillips' death was the result of unusual strain caused by his employment, or, in the alternative, his death was a compensable accident under the unusual pathological result doctrine. She contends that the Board committed an error ...


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