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JOYCE E. CROUSE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/06/88)

decided: May 6, 1988.

JOYCE E. CROUSE, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES AND BUREAU OF RISK AND INSURANCE MANAGEMENT, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of General Services, in case of In Re: G. Michael Crouse, Deceased: Joyce E. Crouse, Claimant, dated June 25, 1986.

COUNSEL

D. Scott Eaby, Ward & Eaby, for petitioner.

Michael D. Reed, Chief of Litigation, with him, P. Alan Zulick, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Doyle and Barry, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 44]

Joyce E. Crouse (petitioner) petitions for review of an order of the Department of General Services (Department) affirming the decision of the Bureau of Risk and Insurance Management which denied her claim for a $25,000.00 death benefit under Section 1 of the Act of June 26, 1976 (Act 101), P.L. 424, as amended, 53 P.S. ยง 891. The petitioner is the surviving spouse of G. Michael Crouse (decedent), a former volunteer fireman with the Reinholds Fire Company.

The parties entered into a stipulation of non-medical facts. In addition, based upon the Department hearing examiner's examination of the depositions of three medical experts and a transcript of hearings held before a workmen's compensation referee, certain medical findings were made. These findings can be summarized as follows.

The decedent was first diagnosed in 1970 as having coronary artery heart disease after he suffered chest discomfort diagnosed as a myocardial infarction. In 1976 the decedent suffered a second myocardial infarction.

On November 4, 1981, the decedent responded to a fire call. While putting on his gear he suffered an acute myocardial infarction for which he was hospitalized until November 20, 1981. He was diagnosed as having suffered an extensive interior infarction complicated by

[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 45]

    mild heart failure and ventricular arrhythmia with frequent runs of ventricular tachycardia. On February 17, 1982, the decedent was hospitalized after a stress test produced ventricular tachycardia. A catheterization performed on February 22, 1982, demonstrated significant blockage in three arteries as well as the presence of an aneurysm in the area of his infarction.

On March 29, 1982, the decedent responded to a fire call but consistent with his curtailed activities since November of 1981, remained at the station house. When the other firemen returned from the fire the decedent was slumped in a chair. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

The petitioner filed a claim for death benefits under Section 1 of Act 101. Section 3 of the Amendatory Act of October 16, 1981, ...


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