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BETTY LINKIEWICZ v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/27/79)

decided: July 27, 1979.

BETTY LINKIEWICZ, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND FIREDOWN, INC., RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Betty Linkiewicz v. Firedown, Inc., No. A-73876.

COUNSEL

Donald D. Doerr, for petitioner.

Fred C. Trenor, for respondent.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 486]

The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board reversed a referee's award of compensation benefits to Betty Linkiewicz. We affirm the Board after a full review of the entire record.

Linkiewicz sustained an alleged work-related back injury on October 3, 1975, when she lifted a full keg of beer into a cooler. She immediately felt a "snap" in her back accompanied by intense pain.

At issue is whether she has produced unequivocal medical testimony establishing a causal relationship between the incident and disability. Generally, this is an essential element where no obvious causation exists.*fn1 See Westmoreland Casualty Co. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 36 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 307, 387 A.2d 683 (1978).

Crucial to Linkiewicz's claim is the medical testimony contained in the deposition of her treating physician, Dr. D. L. Bashline. He first examined her in November of 1963 when she complained of low back pain from a fall. Dr. Bashline again examined her on November 17, 1975, following the alleged work-related incident and after a diagnosis of spondylolisthesis,*fn2 he

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 487]

    employed surgical procedure in the nature of a wide decompression laminectomy.

Turning to Dr. Bashline's testimony:

Q Doctor, you say in your opinion that spondylolisthesis is a gradual ...


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