Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Margaret S. Adamo v. Jameson Memorial Hospital, No. A-76596.
Dominich Motto, with him William R. Balph, Jr., Chambers, Nicolls, Balph, Paul & Motto, for petitioner.
Richard E. Flannery, Mansell, McKee, Mitsos & Flannery, for respondent, Jameson Memorial Hospital.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 531]
Margaret S. Adamo (claimant) appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Board of Review (Board) which reversed the referee's grant of benefits. The Board concluded that the testimony of the claimant's physician was equivocal and that the claimant had failed, therefore, to rebut her employer's proof that her work-related disability had terminated.
The claimant was employed as a nurse by the respondent, Jameson Memorial Hospital (employer), when, on February 6, 1976, she sustained a work-related injury to her neck and left shoulder as the result of a fall at the hospital. She received compensation for total disability until March 28, 1977, when the employer filed a termination petition and a physician's affidavit alleging that all disability had ceased. At the referee's hearing, the parties produced conflicting medical testimony concerning the cause of the claimant's continuing physical complaints.
Although the referee noted that the testimony of the claimant's physician was not extremely persuasive, he concluded that a causal relationship existed between the claimant's persistent neck problems and her fall of February 6, 1976, and he made the following relevant findings of fact:
[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 5323]
. Claimant is totally disabled as a result of chronic cervical neck strain from November of 1976 thru the present date.
4. Dr. Gerald Weiner, Orthopedic Surgeon and treating physician, testified that he cannot say with certainty that the cervical strain was causally related to the injury but testified that it conceivably could have been.
5. Although the testimony of the claimant's doctor is not as positive on the causal relationship as it should be, your Referee is of the opinion that there is a causal relationship between the neck injury and the fall of February 6, 1976, therefore the claimant is still disabled as a result of said injury.
The Board, however, determined that the testimony of the claimant's medical expert, Dr. Weiner, was equivocal and incompetent as a matter of law and that the testimony could not support the referee's finding of a causal relationship. The ...