Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Wilbert Thomas v. Consolidation Coal Company and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. A-75606.
Margaret Bloush, with her J. Scott Leckie, and Kenneth J. Yablonski, for petitioner.
Daniel L. Fassio, with him Andrew Schmidt, Michael W. Balfe, and Andrew Rose, Rose, Schmidt, Dixon, Hasley, Whyte & Hardesty, for respondent, Consolidation Coal Company.
Judges Mencer, Craig and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
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In this workmen's compensation appeal, the sole issue is whether the referee's decision denying benefits
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is deficient as a matter of law because the referee failed to rule on the admissibility of hospital records offered by the defendant. We hold that it is not and affirm.
Wilbert Thomas (claimant) filed a petition claiming that he was totally disabled due to coal worker's pneumoconiosis. At the hearing, both claimant and Consolidation Coal Company (employer) introduced conflicting testimony from doctors. In addition, employer sought to introduce some hospital records of claimant. Claimant objected on hearsay grounds, and the referee reserved his ruling. The referee's decision denying the claim made no mention of the disputed hospital records, and claimant appealed. Upon the Board's affirmance, this appeal followed.
Claimant's argument is meritless. It is a long-established rule that hospital records are admissible into evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule, under both Section 2 of the Uniform Business Records as Evidence Act*fn1 and Section 422 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act.*fn2 Scannella v. Salerno Importing Co., 2 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 11, 275 A.2d 907 (1971).
Even if the records were hearsay not subject to an exception, nevertheless our Supreme Court has held that, where the facts are sufficiently established by circumstantial evidence, hearsay testimony, if not inconsistent, may be considered for the additional light, if any, that it throws upon the matter. Cody v. S.K.F. Industries, Inc., 447 Pa. 558, 291 A.2d 772 (1972). See also Hatboro-Horsham School District v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 35 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 73,
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A.2d 1050 (1978); Nesbit v. Vandervort & Curry, 128 Pa. Superior Ct. 58, 193 A. 393 (1937). Here, the hearsay testimony was not inconsistent with the testimony of three employer doctors who independently and directly ...