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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
ATKINSON v. FAIRFOREST CO. et al.
35248.
Workmen's compensation. Before Judge Fort. Muscogee Superior Court. April 22, 1954.
TOWNSEND, J.
1. (a) On review of an award by a director of the Board of Workmen's Compensation, the full board acts as a fact-finding body. American Mutual Liability Ins. Co. v. Bond, 62 Ga. App. 562 (1) (8 S. E. 2d 715); Couey v. Durham Land Co., 57 Ga. App. 279 (195 S. E. 229). Accordingly, although the single director hearing the case made no specific finding of fact as to whether there was a relation between the injury and the cancer, the full board had a right to examine the evidence and make a finding upon this subject.
(b) As there was no testimony from which it could be concluded that there was more than a possibility that the cancer resulted from the treatment of the injury, and there was abundant opinion evidence to the effect that it probably did not, the finding that the cancer was not related to the injury or its treatment is supported by the record.
2. The facts in this case do not bring it within the rule in Thompson-Weinman Co. v. Yancey, 90 Ga. App. 213 (82 S. E. 2d 725) or Hartford Accident &c. Co. v. Waters, 87 Ga. App. 117 (73 S. E. 2d 70) dealing with the quantum of proof of exertion in heart disease cases necessary to carry a prima facie case. In view of the fact that all the medical witnesses here testified they did not know the cause of cancer, and none of them was willing to vouchsafe a positive opinion that the bandaging of the breast, if done in the manner testified to by the plaintiff, would have been likely to cause the cancer, and in view of the further fact that there was no positive testimony that the cancer had in fact spread or done otherwise than grow in a normal manner, the award in favor of the employer was authorized by the evidence.
3. "In the absence of fraud the findings of fact made by the director and approved on appeal by the full board . . . are binding on the courts if there is any evidence to support them, and where no error of law appears such findings will not be disturbed on appeal." United States Cas. Co. v. Kelly, 78 Ga. App. 112, 115 (50 S. E. 2d 238).
The judge of the superior court did not err in affirming the award of the full board.
On October 23, 1952, the plaintiff in error Mrs. Mae Atkinson, claimant in this workmen's compensation case, suffered a fracture of a bone of her left forearm while employed by the defendant Fairforest Company. She was paid for temporary disability under an agreement, and was treated by a physician supplied by the employer who, over a period of several weeks, immobilized the arm by application of an ace bandage. The day after the bandage was finally removed claimant noticed a lump in her right breast, which was diagnosed as cancer, in the upper and outer quadrant of the right breast. She testified that the elastic bandage, which was tightly applied, would roll up and become so uncomfortable that she could not breathe; that the spot where it was the tightest was the spot where the lump appeared, and that she first noticed it after the bandage was removed. Her attorney requested a hearing by the board on the stated issue that the injury resulting from her initial fall caused the cancer of her right breast. The evidence upon this hearing consisted of testimony of the claimant and her husband and depositions of three physicians. One of the latter, in whose office she had been treated, testified that the bandage was replaced several times, sometimes by himself and sometimes by others; that the proper method of applying it was over the left and under the right breast, snugly, so as to immobilize the left arm and shoulder; that he so applied it but could not say how it had been applied by others. One physician testified that a rolling bandage would result in a massage of the breast, if it was over the breast, and that massage of a cancer was very bad and might easily lead to a spread of the cancer. There was testimony that the cause of cancer is unknown; that cancer of this type is not usually caused by trauma; that this cancer had enlarged since first discovered, but that it seemed to be following a normal growth pattern, and there was no positive testimony that the cancer had spread to other parts of the body.
Young, Hollis, Fort & Drake, contra.
Milton Hirsch, John M. Williams, for plaintiff in error.
DECIDED JULY 15, 1954.
Saturday May 23 03:23 EDT


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