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Workmen's compensation. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Pharr. February 10, 1958.
The judge did not err in affirming the award of the Workmen's Compensation Board.
James Gargal filed a claim for workmen's compensation against the Ship Ahoy, Inc., and Glens Falls Indemnity Company, its insurance carrier.
A hearing was held before a deputy director on July 11, 1957. At this hearing the claimant testified in part that: he was last employed at Ship Ahoy Restaurant as a butcher which consisted of going to work from four-thirty in the morning and working eight to nine hours a day; that he had to cut meats, fish and take care of the basement and everything in it; that he had to handle different kinds of meats which weighed from thirty-five to forty-five pounds and some butter weighing thirty-two pounds; that up until about three months before this accident one of the partners in the restaurant assisted him in his work, but the helper got sick and the claimant had to take over himself; that they gave him a boy to help him but an amateur man did not know how to handle stuff like that; that on November 21, 1956, about two o'clock he was almost through and started to lift the box of butter from the floor and he felt something crack and he fell on his knee; that he managed to get out of the icebox and a meat salesman came in about that time and offered to take him to the hospital, but he asked him to wait a while but that he didn't get any better; that the salesman took him to Grady and one of the boys asked him who his doctor was; that he told them it was Dr. Neely and they called Dr. Neely and they sent him to Piedmont Hospital; that he was in the hospital for a little over three weeks; that he hasn't returned to work because he isn't able to.
Dr. F. L. Neely testified in part: that he had treated the claimant since 1950 and his complaint at the time of this treatment was soreness in the left chest; that they felt he had arteriosclerotic heart disease with angina at the time; that he did not see him from 1950 until 1954 and at that time he was getting along pretty well but still had pains in his chest on exertion but they were described as not too severe; that he treated the claimant on November 21, 1956, and his complaint at that time was severe chest pain, and he felt this was due to a coronary thrombosis with myocardial infarction; that he was admitted to Piedmont Hospital and had what we would call a severe coronary thrombosis requiring oxygen and various medications; that he was hospitalized about four weeks; that his heart now is weaker than it was before he had the attack, that he has fairly severe heart disease, but he made a satisfactory recovery; that the claimant could do light work as long as it wasn't strenuous exertion; that he would say he could lift objects that weighed less than twenty pounds; that it is possible that this coronary thrombosis which occurred on November 21st resulted from aggravation of his heart condition by the exertion of lifting a block weighing approximately thirty pounds; that he would hesitate to say that was definitely due to overwork although they do generally consider that heart disease is associated with overwork, but as far as knowing definitely that there is a causal relation there he could not be sure.
The deputy director found for the claimant and the defendants appealed to the full board. The full board affirmed the award and adopted the deputy director's finding of facts. The case was appealed to the superior court and the award of the full board was affirmed. The defendants excepted and the case is here for review.
1. The finding of facts of the deputy director stated in part that: "After thorough consideration of all the evidence in the case I find as a matter of fact and conclude as a matter of law that Hames Gargal sustained an accident and injury which arose out of and in the course of his employment on November 21, 1956, while doing work for Ship Ahoy Restaurant which was too heavy for one in his condition and that the heavy work and exertion aggravated a pre-existing heart condition and was the proximate cause of his attack at that time and that up until the time of this hearing he had been totally disabled as a result of said injury."
The defendants insist that the deputy director did not find as a matter of fact that the claimant had suffered an accidental injury arising out of and in the course of his employment. With this contention we cannot agree. The finding of fact of the director states in substance that: the claimant sustained an accidental injury which arose out of and in the course of his employment; the proximate cause of this injury, which was a heart attack, was the heavy work and exertion the claimant was performing in compliance with his duties as a butcher.
2. The defendants further insist that there was no competent evidence to support the finding that there was a causal connection between the claimant's employment and his heart attack.
The medical evidence to the effect that the exertion of lifting a block weighing approximately thirty pounds, could have possibly caused the heart. attack and that heart disease is associated with overwork, was sufficient to support the finding that there was a causal connection between the claimant's employment and the heart attack. This principle is well stated by Chief Judge Felton in Hartford Accident &c. Co. v. Waters, 87 Ga. App. 117 (73 S. E. 2d 70): "Where there was no expert opinion to the effect that the exertion contributed to the attack, unless and until some method is developed to ascertain with some degree of certainty that such an attack is not contributed to by exertion, we think that knowledge from human experience, including medical caution against exertion in such cases and the admitted opinion of experts that exertion might contribute to such an attack, authorized the finding in this case, on the weight of reasonable probabilities, that the amount of exertion in this case contributed to the cerebral hemorrhage which caused the deceased's death. See Bussey v. Globe Indemnity Co., 81 Ga. App. 401, 405 (59 S. E. 2d 34); Lumbermen's Mutual Cas. Co. v. Bridges, 81 Ga. App. 395, 400 (58 S. E. 2d 849); Fidelity & Cas. Co. v. Adams, 70 Ga. App. 297, 298 (28 S. E. 2d 79); Travelers Ins. Co. v. Young, 77 Ga. App. 512 (48 S. E. 2d 748); Williams v. Maryland Cas. Co., 67 Ga. App. 649 (21 S. E. 2d 478)."
The above cited cases setting forth what this court feels are sound principles of law, the defendants' request that they be overruled is hereby denied.
The superior court judge did not err in affirming the award of the Workmen's Compensation Board.
Judgment affirmed. Felton, C. J., and Nichols, J., concur.
Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, J. Winston Huff, C. B. Rogers, for plaintiffs in error.
Saturday May 23 01:15 EDT

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