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ELIZABETH H. ELLIS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/04/81)

decided: March 4, 1981.

ELIZABETH H. ELLIS, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND STANDARD PRESS STEEL, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Elizabeth H. Ellis, widow of Francis Ellis v. Standard Pressed Steel, No. A-73969.

COUNSEL

Kip D. Denega, Jr., for petitioner.

Howard M. Ellner, for respondent.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 300]

Elizabeth H. Ellis (petitioner) has appealed from a decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board which upheld the referee's denial of her claim for benefits arising out of the death of her husband, Francis Ellis (decedent). We affirm.

The decedent suffered a "seizure" in the employee locker room of Standard Pressed Steel (employer) within ten minutes after completing his normal shift at 3:30 p.m. Shortly after the employer's first-aid

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 301]

    team arrived, the decedent's heart stopped. Artificial respiration was provided by means of a "Stevenson's Resuscitator" and closed-chest massage was administered. The decedent was promptly taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:04 p.m. from severe coronary artery disease. The cause of death was found to be unrelated to the decedent's employment, but the petitioner asserted that the employer failed to provide proper medical care and that this failure resulted in the death of her husband.

To prevail before the referee, the petitioner had the burden of satisfying the three criteria set forth in Baur v. Mesta Machine Co., 405 Pa. 617, 624, 176 A.2d 684, 688 (1961):

In order for the plaintiff to recover . . . , it must be shown (1) that the employer assumed the obligation of providing medical care to the employees who became ill in the course of their employment; (2) that proper care was not provided; and (3) that the death of the employee was due to the neglect of the employer to provide proper care.

In the present case, the employer assumed the obligation of providing medical care to employees who became ill in the course of their employment by employing a company nurse and organizing first-aid teams. Nothing in the record indicates that care was not administered promptly to the decedent, so the sole issue for our consideration is whether the referee erred in finding that the decedent received the proper type of medical attention after he collapsed. Specifically, the petitioner contends that the methods used to provide artificial respiration to the decedent were inadequate.

The extensive record in this case includes testimony by several qualified medical experts as to the adequacy of ...


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