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CRAIG HARLAN STEWART v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/12/81)

decided: November 12, 1981.

CRAIG HARLAN STEWART, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND BRYN MAWR HOSPITAL, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Craig Harlan Stewart v. Bryn Mawr Hospital, No. A-77950.

COUNSEL

Sheldon Nerenberg, with him Allen L. Feingold, for petitioner.

James K. Martin, with him Frank J. Rubinate, for respondents.

Judges Blatt, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 352]

Craig Harlan Stewart (claimant) appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's denial of benefits because the claimant had failed to sustain his burden of proving a compensable injury within the meaning of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1

On January 4, 1977, the claimant filed a claim petition alleging that in October of 1974, about two months after the commencement of his employment at Bryn Mawr Hospital (employer), he sustained a compensable injury when he was struck in the leg by a wheelchair while performing his duties as an escortaide.

[ 62 Pa. Commw. Page 353]

On November 12, 1974 he was admitted to the employer-hospital where a diagnosis of phlebitis of the right leg was made, and on January 30, 1977 he was admitted to West Park Hospital where he was surgically treated for varicose veins of the right leg. Both hospital records indicate that no history of trauma was presented. The claimant has unsuccessfully asserted before the referee and the Board that the phlebitis and varicose veins were a direct result of the alleged work-related injury.

Where the party with the burden of proof did not prevail below, our scope of review is limited to determining whether the findings of fact are consistent with each other and with the conclusions of law and can be sustained without a capricious disregard of competent evidence. Stillman Automatic Center, Inc. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 55 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 247, 422 A.2d 1233 (1980).

The referee, in denying benefits, specifically rejected the claimant's testimony that he had been struck on the leg by a wheelchair while in the course of his employment and also found that no such incident had ever been reported to the claimant's supervisor. The referee further found that neither the phlebitis nor the varicose vein condition was work-related.

The claimant testified that he had informed his supervisor of the accident. The supervisor testified that she had personally informed him during his orientation program that employees were to report any injury, no matter how minor, to her and that, although the claimant had complained constantly of leg pain almost from the beginning of his employment, he had never informed her of any specific incident in which he had sustained an injury.

In a January 20, 1975 interview with the insurance carrier's claim examiner, a recording of which was admitted into ...


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