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NORTH SCHUYLKILL SCHOOL DISTRICT v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (BOBIAK) (07/05/84)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: July 5, 1984.

NORTH SCHUYLKILL SCHOOL DISTRICT, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (BOBIAK), RESPONDENTS

Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of In re: Claim of Stephen H. Bobiak v. North Schuylkill School District, No. A-84105.

COUNSEL

Frank L. Tamulonis, Jr., Zimmerman, Lieberman & Derenzo, for petitioner.

John T. Pfeiffer, III, Pfeiffer, Brown & Baldwin, for respondent, Stephen Bobiak.

Judges MacPhail, Colins and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 507]

North Schuylkill School District (Employer) appeals from a determination by the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) that Stephen Bobiak (Claimant) is entitled to benefits*fn1 because his heart attack was work-related. We affirm.

Claimant was a teacher and an assistant wrestling coach for Employer. During a wrestling practice on April 4, 1977, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Claimant demonstrated with Thomas Petrowsky, a student, how to escape a wrestling hold. The student was straddled over Claimant with one arm wrapped around Claimant's waist, the other arm on Claimant's elbow. When the student resisted Claimant's effort to break the wrestling hold, the Claimant suddenly felt a sharp pain through the center of his chest and the student released his hold. Claimant felt nauseous, cancelled practice and went home.

Claimant's chest pain continued throughout the night. The following morning he told the school nurse about the problem and Claimant was transported to Ashland State Hospital. Dr. Joseph A. Weber, Claimant's attending physician at the hospital, diagnosed that Claimant suffered a myocardial infarction, a heart attack.

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 508]

Based on Dr. Weber's testimony that Claimant was totally disabled from the heart attack which was, in his opinion, caused or triggered by the wrestling incident, the referee awarded workmen's compensation benefits to Claimant. The Board affirmed.

Employer argues that Dr. Weber's testimony was hearsay and incompetent*fn2 to support an award of benefits because Dr. Weber's opinion was based on a "confab of history" provided by Claimant, Claimant's wife and the student.*fn3 We disagree. While it is true that Dr. Weber based his opinion on the history that he obtained from the Claimant, Claimant's wife and the student, the record indicates that Employer did not object to this portion of Dr. Weber's testimony at the hearing before the referee. Hearsay evidence admitted without objection will support a finding of fact if it is corroborated by any competent evidence.*fn4 Even if these statements to Dr. Weber were hearsay, both the Claimant and the student testified at the hearing which corroborated the portion of Dr. Weber's testimony regarding the development of Claimant's chest pain at the wrestling incident.

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 509]

Employer contends that Dr. Amilcar E. Longarini's testimony that Claimant's heart attack occurred on April 5, the day Claimant was admitted to the hospital and not April 4, the day of the wrestling incident, contradicts Dr. Weber's testimony.*fn5 It is within the province of the referee to accept the testimony of one medical witness over conflicting testimony of another medical witness.*fn6 We are convinced that the referee's findings are supported by substantial evidence.

Order

The order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board No. A-84105, dated October 27, 1983, is affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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