Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Carolee Glickman v. New York Floral Company, No. A-85216.
Robert J. Magee, Worth Law Offices, P.C., for petitioner.
David G. Welty, for respondent.
Judges Williams, Jr., Barry and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.
[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 189]
Carolee Glickman appeals from the decision of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board dismissing her appeal from the referee's granting of the employer's petition to terminate compensation benefits under The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act.*fn1
In 1977, Glickman was employed two days per week as a part-time clerk for the New York Floral Company. Her net income was approximately $25.00 per week. On October 3, 1977, Glickman filed a Notice of Compensation Payable, stating that on September 8, 1977, she suffered an injury to her back while in the course of her employment. Effective the week of September 19, 1977, Glickman began receiving disability benefits in the amount of $63.33 per week. On August 7, 1981, the employer, by its insurance carrier, filed a Termination Petition alleging that on or before July 28, 1981 Glickman fully recovered from her work-related injury. The petition was accompanied by the affidavit of Dr. Lawrence M. Weisbrod, who certified that he had examined Glickman on July 27, 1981 and found that she was fully recovered from the back injury which occurred on September 8, 1977. Glickman answered the petition, asserting that she was not fully recovered and that she was still afflicted with
[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 190]
most of the symptoms which originally caused her disability.
At a hearing before the referee, the employer presented the testimony of Dr. Weisbrod, a board certified orthopedic surgeon, who had been Glickman's treating physician. He testified that he first examined Glickman on April 20, 1978. That examination and a review of x-rays taken in September of 1977 revealed some muscle spasms in the low back and a congenital defect known as spondylolisthesis, which is a slippage forward of one of the vertebrae. He also found that Glickman suffered from spina bifida, a congenital defect causing curvature of the spine. As a result of these conditions, Dr. Weisbrod, in April or May of 1979, performed surgery on Glickman's spine to relieve some of the pressure on her back. The surgery improved her condition; and even though Glickman complained of some residual backache and some numbness of the left foot, the physician expressed the opinion that the back strain caused by her job was basically resolved by the time he examined her in late July, 1981. The doctor raised doubts as to whether Glickman's condition was work-related at all, in light of his opinion that her spondylolisthesis pre-existed September, 1977 and that the slippage of the affected vertebra occurred gradually over many years, and in light of his lack of knowledge of any specific occurrence on September 8, 1977 which might have caused the injury.
Glickman presented no medical expert. She testified to her continuing back pain and numbness, and of her inability to perform the duties required by her previous employment. She also testified regarding her day-to-day activities, which according to the referee's findings included home care for her husband, and 13 year-old daughter as well as care of her mother,
[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 191]
who was debilitated due to arthritis and rheumatism; cooking meals, washing dishes, mopping floors, food shopping, driving, doing ...