Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in the case of Edwin C. Schroeder v. City of Reading, No. A-90689.
Thomas F. McDevitt, Thomas F. McDevitt, P.C., for petitioner.
John J. McAuliffe, Jr., for respondent, City of Reading.
Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 131]
Edwin Schroeder appeals an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, affirming a referee's decision that denied Schroeder benefits for an injury he suffered while employed as a firefighter by the City of Reading.
The sole issue is whether there is substantial evidence to support the referee's finding that the work-related disability suffered by Schroeder on June 13, 1980 ended that same day, and that his hospitalization until June 24, 1980, and his inability to return to work until September 20, 1980 resulted solely from non-work-related heart disease. Because we find no substantial evidence to support that finding, we reverse.
From the testimony and records, the undisputed history is as follows: On June 13, 1980, Mr. Schroeder, as firefighter employed by the City of Reading, suffered chest pains as he drove a fire truck to a fire. On the way to the fire, Schroeder had to swerve the truck sharply to avoid an accident with another vehicle, and he began to experience chest pain. When Schroeder arrived at the scene of the fire, which turned out to be a false alarm, he continued to experience chest pain. Upon returning to the station house, Schroeder informed a paramedic of his discomfort. The paramedics transported Schroeder to the hospital emergency room, where he received treatment that relieved the chest pains. The treating physician admitted Schroeder to the hospital, according to that doctor's testimony, "to watch the patient in the Coronary Care Unit, continue the Lidocaine because of the premature contractions seen and to obtain serial enzymes and cardiograms."
Five days later, on June 18, 1980, the treating cardiologist diagnosed Schroeder as having "unstable angina, etiology, coronary artery disease" and stated "even though he has no chest pain, I recommend that we keep
[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 132]
him on Inderal therapy." The cardiologist also recommended that a cardiac catheterization be performed at the end of July. Schroeder remained hospitalized until June 24, 1980, at which time the discharging physician diagnosed Schroeder's injury as a "cardiac insufficiency", and recommended a stress test "in two or three weeks after which, it will be decided (if abnormal) to do a coronary arteriogram."
During the period August 12-14, 1980, Schroeder was readmitted to the hospital for a cardiac catheterization. Following that test, the doctor diagnosed Mr. Schroeder's condition as coronary arteriosclerosis and angina. On September 21, 1980, Schroeder returned to work.
On February 6, 1981, Schroeder filed a petition for benefits under The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. §§ 1-1601.1, as a result of the cardiac insufficiency he suffered on June 13, 1980. The referee found that the injury suffered by Schroeder began and ended on June 13, 1980; therefore, he denied Schroeder benefits because his disability did not exceed seven days as required by section 306(e) of The Pennsylvania ...