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MONTE BREWER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/09/81)

decided: December 9, 1981.

MONTE BREWER, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE AND PENNHURST CENTER, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Monte Brewer, dated November 28, 1979.

COUNSEL

Marc Jacobs, with him E. Lawrence Hannaway, Galfand, Berger, Senesky, Lurie & March, for petitioner.

John T. Kalita, Jr., Deputy Attorney General, with him John O. J. Shellenberger, Deputy Attorney General, and Harvey Bartle, III, Acting Attorney General, for respondents.

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

Author: Rogers

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 108]

Monte Brewer appeals from an order of the Hearing and Appeal Unit of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) rejecting the recommendation of a hearing examiner and discontinuing petitioner's Act 534*fn1 benefits.

The hearing examiner found and our review of the record shows that on May 8, 1978, Mr. Brewer, while engaged in the performance of his duties as a mental retardation aide at the Pennhurst State School and Hospital and specifically while attempting to remove leg restraints from a Pennhurst inmate, was injured when the inmate struck him in the right arm. The medical certificates of treating physicians made a part of the record before the hearing examiner indicate that a Dr. S. J. Pietrandrea examined and treated Mr. Brewer on some fifteen occasions between May 11,

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 1091978]

, and October 25, 1978, that his condition was initially diagnosed as a "severe ligamentous strain" and later as "post-traumatic synovitis," that the injured arm was placed first in a plaster cast and later in a functional splint and that on October 25, 1978, Dr. Pietrandrea referred Mr. Brewer to an orthopedic specialist for blood tests and further diagnosis and treatment.

On March 8, 1979, Mr. Brewer was examined by a Dr. Richard P. Whittaker at which time he was still suffering from severe pain in the right wrist and forearm and a plaster cast was again applied. Five days later, on March 13, 1979, an examination was performed by Dr. Daniel J. Gross at the request of the DPW but Dr. Gross was unable to arrive at any diagnosis because the plaster cast had not been removed. A medical certificate of Dr. Andrew R. Bolmann who also treated Mr. Brewer, dated May 3, 1979, catalogues Mr. Brewer's medical symptoms as of that date as "withdrawal, paranoid ideation, inability to get along with people, pain in right forearm and wrist -- has cast on right forearm" and presents the following diagnosis: "schizophrenia, paranoid type," "traumatic arthritis right wrist."

By memorandum dated May 31, 1979, Pennhurst was informed of the decision of the DPW's Office of Manpower to

[t]erminate benefits of Act 534 for subject employee effective on receipt of this memorandum. The file of Mr. Brewer has been reviewed along with Dr. Bolmann's report dated May 3, 1979. The right wrist injury has ceased to be the cause of disability.

As previously indicated, Mr. Brewer appealed from this determination and a hearing was held on August 10, 1979, culminating in a recommendation by the hearing ...


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