Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Norberto Serrano v. Chain Bike Corporation, No. A-93311.
Edward G. Ruyak, with him, Gilbert J. Negrete, Jr., for petitioner.
Wilbur C. Creveling, Jr., Creveling & Creveling, for respondent, Chain Bike Corporation.
Judges Doyle and McGinley, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge McGinley. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 221]
Norberto Serrano (Claimant) appeals from the order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming an order of the referee suspending Claimant's benefits as of August 8, 1983. We vacate and remand.
The referee had made the following findings of fact. Claimant was employed as a foreman on the rim line for Chain Bike Corporation (Employer), a bicycle manufacturer. While in the course of employment on March 2, 1982, Claimant sustained a compensable injury when he was squeezed or pinched between two machines he thought had been turned off. Claimant suffered internal injuries to his chest and stomach including a lacerated liver, lacerated gall bladder and contusions of the lung and chest wall resulting in a collapsed lung. Claimant's gall bladder was removed and his liver surgically repaired. On March 12, 1982, Claimant was discharged from the hospital.
David Shingles, M.D., (Dr. Shingles) a general practitioner, initially treated Claimant on March 26, 1982, after his first operation. On April 2, 1982, Claimant first notified Dr. Shingles that he was experiencing lower back pain. Claimant was again examined by various doctors in May and July 1983. Claimant was hospitalized from July 26-30, 1983, at which time he was discharged with a final diagnosis of chronic lower back strain. From March 30, 1983, to April 5, 1983, Claimant was again hospitalized for lower back pain which frequently extended downward through his legs. At that time Claimant underwent surgery
[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 222]
wherein several fragments of disc were removed from his lower back.
On July 7, 1983, at the request of Employer, Claimant was examined by Alfons J. Muller, M.D. (Dr. Muller) who subsequently prepared reports and an affidavit of recovery stating that Claimant was able to resume his time-of-injury occupation of foreman-mechanic without limitation as of July 22, 1983. On or about August 1, 1983, Claimant appeared at Employer's office and was given the opportunity to review Dr. Muller's conclusions. Claimant was advised by Employer that his pre-injury position was available to him. However, Claimant did not feel he could return to work because he was taking several medications and in fact has never returned to his pre-injury position.
Subsequent to the meeting with Employer, Claimant continued to complain of severe lower back pain and began experiencing severe psychological problems. On the advice of counsel, Claimant began seeing Richard J. Miller, Ph.D. (Dr. Miller), a clinical psychologist. Dr. Miller treated Claimant on a weekly basis from August 16, 1983, until at least March 11, 1986. Dr. Miller opined that Claimant suffered from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder with acute depression. Further, Dr. Miller opined that Claimant was experiencing a psychophysiologic reaction resulting from organic musculoskeletal type pain.
In addition to his psychological problems, Claimant was hospitalized several times for continued back problems. In December 1984, Claimant was hospitalized at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia at which time further tests were performed on his back. Claimant was diagnosed by Ronald J. Wisneski, M.D. (Dr. Wisneski) as ...