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REGIS L. HARRIGAN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/12/79)

decided: February 12, 1979.

REGIS L. HARRIGAN, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND CITY OF JOHNSTOWN, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Regis L. Harrigan v. City of Johnstown, No. A-72253.

COUNSEL

S. R. DiFrancesco, Sr., for petitioner.

Edward G. Kuyat, Jr., with him Kuyat & Walker and Sandra S. Christianson, Assistant Attorney General, for respondents.

Judges Mencer, Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer. Judge Craig dissents.

Author: Mencer

[ 40 Pa. Commw. Page 391]

Regis L. Harrigan (claimant) appeals the order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed the referee's dismissal of his claim petition.

Claimant was employed as a fireman by the City of Johnstown from November 15, 1951 to May 4, 1975. It is undisputed that he had been exposed to stress, exertion, and other hazards accompanying a firefighter's duties. While fighting a fire in the fall of 1974, claimant experienced his first heart pains which lasted about ten minutes. After resting, he returned to his duty. He reported having similar pains once again in March 1975. On May 5, 1975, while not on duty, he experienced pain and was admitted to the hospital with a provisional diagnosis of preinfarction angina. On May 8, 1975, while a patient at the hospital, he suffered a myocardial infarction from which he recovered. He last attended a fire approximately one month before his hospitalization. Undisputed testimony indicated

[ 40 Pa. Commw. Page 392]

    that claimant had a coronary artery disease which had developed prior to his hospitalization over a period of approximately two years.

The referee made the following findings of fact:

15. The claimant is totally and permanently disabled as the result of his coronary artery disease.

16. The coronary artery disease was due to natural causes and progressive development and is unrelated to nor was it precipitated by any of his activities as a fireman.

Based upon these findings, the referee concluded that claimant was not disabled as a result of an occupational disease as defined in Section 108(o) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended (Workmen's Compensation Act), added by Section 1 of the Act ...


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