Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Paul Fred Erlink v. City of Philadelphia, No. A-80056.
Alan J. Davis, City Solicitor, with him Thomas B. Erekson, Deputy City Solicitor, Steven M. Levin, Chief Assistant City Solicitor, and Kevin Gallagher, Law Clerk, for petitioner.
Paul J. Drucker, for respondent, Paul Fred Erlink.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Doyle and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barbieri.
[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 261]
The City of Philadelphia (City) appeals here from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming a referee's award, pursuant to Section 306(c) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act),*fn1 of specific loss benefits to Paul Fred Erlink (Claimant). We will remand.
On January 2, 1979 Claimant, a City fireman, filed a claim petition under the occupational disease provisions of the Act alleging therein that "high blood pressure caused by my occupation caused a right vein branch occlusion of the retina[,]" and that this injury resulted from "[e]xposure to heat, smoke, fumes, excitement, pressure, stress and adverse working conditions fighting fires for 22 years. . . ."*fn2 Claimant further alleged in his claim petition that the date of his injury was "May, 1977," that he orally notified his "superior officers and . . . co-workers" of his injury in May of 1977, and that he was totally disabled
[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 262]
as of May 29, 1978, the day after he left his job with the City. Several days of hearings were subsequently held on this claim petition, and at these hearings, Claimant produced unequivocal medical evidence, in the form of the testimony of Dr. Michael E. Starrels, an opthalmologist, and Dr. Thomas J. Leichner, Jr., Claimant's attending physician, indicating (1) that Claimant lost the vision in his right eye as of October 28, 1977, after a period of deterioration commencing in May of 1977, and (2) that this loss of vision was causally related to the hypertension Claimant experienced as a result of the nature of his job responsibilities. Thereafter, after the record was initially closed, and legal memoranda had been submitted, the referee, on his own motion, conducted another hearing to address the issue of notice, and at this hearing Claimant testified as follows:
Mr. Erlink what was the date of your injury, please?
A. I don't know the exact date -- '77.
Q. According to your Petition, it was May of 1977. Does ...