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City of Des Plaines v. Industrial Com.

OPINION FILED JANUARY 24, 1983.

THE CITY OF DES PLAINES, APPELLANT,

v.

THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION ET AL. (JOHN W. HUEGE, APPELLEE).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. James C. Murray, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE CLARK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied April 8, 1983.

The claimant, John W. Huege, filed two claims for workmen's compensation benefits (I.C. Nos. 79 WC 34487 and 79 WC 34488). Claim No. 79 WC 34487 was for an alleged injury that occurred on June 4, 1979, and claim No. 79 WC 34488 was for an alleged injury that occurred on June 13, 1979. Claimant petitioned for, and was granted, an immediate hearing on both claims pursuant to section 19(b) of the Workmen's Compensation Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 48, par. 138.19(b)). Section 19(b) provides in pertinent part:

"The Arbitrator or committee of arbitration may find that the disabling condition is temporary and has not yet reached a permanent condition and may order the payment of compensation up to the date of the hearing, which award shall be reviewable and enforceable in the same manner as other awards, and in no instance be a bar to a further hearing and determination of a further amount of temporary total compensation or of compensation for permanent disability, but shall be conclusive as to all other questions except the nature and extent of said disability."

On December 7, 1979, there was a "19(b)" hearing before an arbitrator and the claims for the alleged injuries were heard on a consolidated record.

On March 27, 1980, the arbitrator filed a decision with the Industrial Commission on I.C. No. 79 WC 34487 awarding the claimant "$248.33 per week for a period of one-seventh of a week, that being the period of temporary total incapacity for work, for which compensation [was] payable." The decision further stated that "all questions relating to permanent partial disability [were to be] adjudicated in I.C. No. 79 WC 34488."

On March 31, 1980, the arbitrator filed a second decision with the Industrial Commission on I.C. No. 79 WC 34488, which she had designated as the number for the permanent disability claim, modifying the award for temporary total disability. The decision states:

"That Petitioner is entitled to have and receive from said Respondent the sum of $248.39 per week for a period of 27 3/7 weeks, that being the intermittent period of temporary total incapacity for work, for which compensation is payable, as provided in paragraph (b) of Section 19 of said Act, as amended, for the reason that the injuries sustained caused the disabling condition of said Petitioner; that the disabling condition is temporary and has not yet reached a permanent condition.

This award in no instance shall be a bar to a further hearing and determination of a further amount of temporary total compensation or of compensation for permanent disability."

The amount of compensation changed from $248.33 to $248.39 between the first decision that was filed and the second decision of the arbitrator. We do not know whether this change was intentional or a clerical mistake. The arbitrator also awarded the claimant necessary medical expenses in the sum of $2,092.75.

On December 22, 1980, the Industrial Commission filed a decision on review of claim No. 79 WC 34488, affirming the decision of the arbitrator and modifying the award for temporary total disability to $248.39 per week for a period of 52 1/7 weeks, and an additional $86.45 was awarded for necessary medical expenses. The respondent was to be given credit for all compensation paid to the claimant up to that point. The circuit court of Cook County entered an order which read: "It is hereby ordered that the decisions of the Industrial Commission in the matter of John Huege v. The City of Des Plaines, under Industrial Commission Nos. 79 WC 34487 and 79 WC 34488 are hereby affirmed and those decisions made the decisions of this Court." It is from this judgment that the respondent, the city of Des Plaines, appeals.

The only matter that was decided by the arbitrator, the Industrial Commission and the circuit court was whether the claimant was entitled to temporary total disability. The arbitrator in her first decision stated that questions relating to permanent partial disability would be adjudicated under I.C. No. 79 WC 34488. However, the question of permanent partial disability was never resolved. Since the claimant was only awarded compensation for his temporary total disability, that is the only matter properly before us on appeal.

On June 4, 1979, the claimant, a 35-year-old fireman for the city of Des Plaines, was rolling up fire hoses and replacing them on a hose rack when he began to suffer chest pain. He immediately sought medical attention from the paramedics on duty at the firehouse. The paramedics took an electrocardiogram (EKG), and claimant testified that one of the paramedics told him there was a "slight depression in ST segment." Claimant testified that he had received training in paramedic technique and could read the EKG strip and see what the paramedic was referring to. The paramedics took the EKG to Holy Family Hospital on their next call. The claimant did not accompany them to the hospital because his pain had subsided. After his shift had ended that day, the claimant went to the emergency room of Holy Family ...


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