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JOHN E. VARNER v. NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY (03/08/85)

filed: March 8, 1985.

JOHN E. VARNER
v.
NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT



No. 00389 HARRISBURG, 1983, Appeal from the Order entered September 8, 1983 in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Civil Division, No. 3651-S 1982.

COUNSEL

Harvey Freedenberg, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Neil J. Rovner, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Wickersham, Wieand and Hester, JJ.

Author: Hester

[ 340 Pa. Super. Page 212]

Appellee, John E. Varner, was severely injured in an automobile accident on October 10, 1981. His no-fault

[ 340 Pa. Super. Page 213]

    motor vehicle insurance carrier was appellant, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

Appellee's principal injuries were a fractured skull and fractured left shoulder. He was hospitalized at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania from October 10, 1981 through October 27, 1981.

While in the hospital in October 1981, appellee developed a urinary tract infection. The parties agreed that this infection was aggravated by medical maltreatment; the steroids used to reduce cerebral swelling lowered appellee's resistance to the urinary tract infection.

Appellee was hospitalized again from October 29, 1981 through December 18, 1981 and from January 19, 1982 through June 18, 1982 primarily for treatment of the urinary tract infection. The infection spread to his lower extremities causing permanent septic arthritis in his joints. These later hospital stays resulted in medical expenses of approximately $100,000.00. The results of the infection prevent appellee from returning to work as a welder.

Appellant paid $9,703.45 in medical bills for the initial period of hospitalization, but refused to pay for the two subsequent periods. Appellant refused to pay due to its belief that the subsequent treatment was the result of medical malpractice and therefore not covered by no-fault motor vehicle insurance.

Thereafter, appellee filed a complaint in assumpsit in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas seeking maximum work loss benefits, attorney fees, interest and payment of all medical bills. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. By order dated September 8, 1983, appellant's motion for summary judgment was granted with respect only to appellee's claim for attorney fees; appellee's motion ...


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