Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Betty Van Den Bergh v. Chestnut Hill Hospital, No. A-94081.
Kenneth F. DeMarco, Post & Schell, P.C., for petitioners.
Gerard J. Woods, Iovine & Woods, P.C., for respondent, Betty Van Den Bergh.
Judges Barry and Smith, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.
[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 339]
This is an appeal by Chestnut Hill Hospital (Hospital) from a determination of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming a referee's award of benefits. We reverse.
Betty Van Den Bergh (Claimant) was employed by the Hospital as a licensed practical nurse. Her duties for the Hospital included inserting catheters, administering tube feedings, changing dressings and caring for patients with infectious diseases. While at home on August 1, 1980, Claimant sustained a brush burn to the palm of her right hand and this incident caused her hand to bleed. Claimant reported to work as scheduled on August 2, 1980 at 11:00 p.m. and continued to work her regularly scheduled hours until August 11, 1980. Claimant testified that while at home, she did not cover her wound, but while at work she covered it with a bandaid. While at work treating patients, the bandaid would often come off. During the period of time August 2, 1980 through August 11, 1980 Claimant was required to treat at least three patients who had bacterial infections. On or about August 7, 1980, Claimant noticed pain and white spots in the area of her wound. On August 11, 1980 and August 12, 1980, Claimant went to the emergency room of the Hospital for treatment of her wound. On August 12, 1980, claimant was admitted to the Hospital in order to treat an apparent infection of her wound.
Claimant subsequently filed a claim for benefits alleging that she sustained an infection to her right hand while in the course of her employment as a result of her treatment of patients with "staphylococal infections". At
[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 340]
the hearing before the referee, Claimant presented the testimony of Dr. Thomas J. Brobyn and Dr. Jerome Santoro in order to establish the causal link between her infection and her employment.
The referee made the following findings of fact with respect to the medical testimony submitted by Claimant in order to establish the causal link between her infection and her employment:
9. Dr. Brobyn testified, and I believe him and find as fact, that with the record of the other patients that she (claimant) had treated, she (claimant) was at risk to develop what she had much greater than somebody would have outside of the Hospital.
10. Dr. Brobyn testified, and I believe him and find as fact, that if the incidents of contracting the type of infectious disease that the Claimant contracted is substantially greater in the Nursing or ...