Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Patrick Walsh v. Tolas Corporation, No. A-77769.
Vincent B. Corsetti, Bank, Minehart & D'Angelo, for petitioner.
Martin J. Fallon, Jr., Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler, for respondents.
Judges Craig, MacPhail and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 289]
Patrick Walsh (Claimant) appeals to this Court from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming a referee's dismissal of Claimant's petition for workmen's compensation benefits. For the reasons which follow, we affirm.
On October 11, 1977 Claimant, a seventy-one year old part-time janitor employed by the Tolas Corporation (Employer), was injured in the course of his employment when he tripped on a piece of tin, which covered an imperfection in an area of flooring at
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 290]
work, and bumped the outer aspect of his left ankle against a wooden skid. His injury was diagnosed later that day as a contusion. It is unclear from the record how long Claimant continued to work after this incident;*fn1 however, on December 14, 1977 Claimant reported to the emergency room of Holy Redeemer Hospital complaining of swollen legs and ulcerated ankles. Claimant was admitted to the hospital on December 17 with ulcers on the inner aspect of the left ankle and the outer aspect of the right ankle. Despite improvement during his initial stay in the hospital which terminated on December 24, 1977, Claimant was readmitted on January 4, 1978. Due to an arterial occlusion and gangrene in the left leg, Claimant ultimately was forced to undergo surgery on January 24, 1978 for an above-the-knee amputation of his left leg. Prior to the amputation Claimant apparently had experienced a long history of periodic ulcerations primarily of the left leg caused by vascular disease and venous insufficiency.
Based on the testimony presented by two medical witnesses, Claimant and two of Claimant's daughters the referee concluded that Claimant had not sustained his burden of establishing a causal relationship between his initial injury incurred in the course of his employment and the ultimate above-the-knee amputation. Finding ample support in the record for the referee's decision the Board affirmed.
The issues raised by Claimant on appeal are (1) did the referee and Board err in concluding that Claimant did not meet his burden of proving a causal relationship between his work injury and the leg amputation and (2) did the referee capriciously disregard
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 291]
the testimony presented on behalf ...