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FOSTER WHEELER ENERGY CORPORATION v. ELIZABETH J. USTONOFSKI (08/15/80)

decided: August 15, 1980.

FOSTER WHEELER ENERGY CORPORATION, PETITIONER
v.
ELIZABETH J. USTONOFSKI, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Claim of Elizabeth J. Ustonofski v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., No. A-75368.

COUNSEL

Anthony J. Lumbis, with him Neil L. Conway, Hourigan, Kluger & Spohrer Associates, for petitioner.

Thomas J. Sharkey, with him Joseph J. Ustynoski, for respondent.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 474]

Foster Wheeler Energy Corporation (Foster) appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) granting compensation to Elizabeth J. Ustonofski (claimant) for the death of her husband, Lawrence Ustonofski (decedent). We affirm.

On January 15, 1977, decedent suffered a work-related muscle strain in his left groin. Decedent received compensation for the resulting disability and, after returning to work, executed a final receipt. On February 4, 1977, decedent was routinely examined by his personal physician, Dr. Anthony G. Stish. During the examination, decedent informed Dr. Stish that the physician who examined decedent for Foster after his injury had recommended that decedent undergo a bilateral orchiopexy to correct a congenital defect of undescended testis.*fn1 Dr. Stish conducted his own examination of decedent's left groin and, finding that the area was still tender, referred decedent to a urologist who performed both the orchiopexy and a left inguinal hernioplasty. Shortly after decedent's discharge from the hospital, he began experiencing severe chest pains. After consulting with Dr. Stish, decedent was readmitted to the hospital and, on February 27, 1977, died of an acute pulmonary embolism due to multiple embolic phenomenon and thromboplebitis. Both the referee and the Board found that decedent's death was causally connected to the work-related

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 475]

    injury decedent sustained on January 15, 1977 and therefore awarded claimant benefits. Foster's appeal to this court followed.

The sole issue on appeal is whether claimant presented substantial competent evidence to show the necessary causal link between decedent's death and his employment. The following testimony by Dr. Stish clearly carries claimant's burden on this issue:

Q. Doctor, when you elicited pain on palpation, was there any pain in the area of the left testicle?

A. That's, exactly, where the pain was.

Q. You have indicated that you knew prior to February 4, 1977, that he had one or two undescended testicles, is that right?

A. That's right.

Q. By history, or otherwise, did you ever know him to have any problem with the undescended testicles -- that is, a physical problem -- a traumatic problem -- other than the inability to have children?

A. No, sir.

Q. Other than the condition of high blood pressure, which you have described, what was Mr. Ustonofski's physical condition, as you know it, as his ...


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