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Domagalski v. Industrial Com.

OPINION FILED JUNE 17, 1983.

MARGARET DOMAGALSKI, APPELLANT,

v.

THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION ET AL. (UNIROYAL, APPELLEE).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County, the Hon. John Verklan, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

On January 7, 1973, Margaret Domagalski was employed as a security guard for the respondent, Uniroyal. Her duties required her to carry 10-gallon jugs of water to various guard posts in the plant area. In attempting to lift a full water jug from a 3 1/2-foot table, she slipped and fell on the cement floor. As she fell, the water jug struck her right leg, cutting her right hand and bruising her right thigh. She was treated by the plant nurse, who applied ice packs and bandaged the leg. She worked the following day, but was given lighter duties.

On January 18, 1973, the claimant visited her family physician, Dr. Bernard E. Zaworski, and complained of an inability to hold urine and pain in the legs and chest. She had a history of circulatory difficulties in her legs. She took a leave of absence on the advice of her doctor and never returned to work. While under treatment by Dr. Zaworski, she had bladder surgery in late February 1973. The post-surgical evaluation was urinary stress incontinence due to enterocele and vaginal vault prolapse. She was hospitalized in May of 1973 and was treated for multiple pulmonary emboli. She had vena cava surgery in a third hospitalization in September of 1973.

On August 8, 1973, Domagalski filed a claim under the Workmen's Compensation Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 48, par. 138.1 et seq.) for the injuries she claimed resulted from her accident on January 7, 1973. The claim form described the injuries as an "injured right leg, right index finger and stomach while working."

The claimant's chest pain intensified in May of 1974. She was hospitalized for one week for tests, medication, and inhalation therapy and remained under the care of Dr. Edwin R. Levine until October 1974.

At the hearing before the arbitrator the parties stipulated, inter alia, that the claimant "sustained accidental injuries arising out of and in the course of the employment." While listing the questions in dispute, the arbitrator stated:

"I understand that the Respondent is asking the Petitioner to prove, if possible, a causal relationship between the incident of January 7, 1973, and the condition of ill being now complained of."

A claim form, dated January 19, 1973, was offered into evidence by the respondent at the arbitrator's hearing. In the top half of the form, the claimant gave a negative response to the question, "Was an accident or injury involved?" The balance of the form, completed by Dr. Zaworski, included these notations:

"Diagnosis: Urethral stenosis - Vaginal prolapse - Enterocele.

In your opinion was the patient's disability a result of patient's employment? No X."

Dr. Levine testified that he was unable to make a diagnosis following his examination of the claimant on March 19 and May 11 of 1974. On May 29, 1974, he had the claimant admitted to the intensive-care unit of a hospital for treatment of pulmonary emboli. His testimony at the hearing before the arbitrator was:

"My diagnosis is and has been that she has pulmonary emboli and infarction in the lung, in both lungs which arose and continues to arise from the veins in both legs. They are inflamed with blood clots in both legs and that these are draining and producing blood clots in the lung and that this condition continues despite all the therapy that I have given her."

Dr. Levine further testified that in his opinion the trauma sustained by the claimant on January 7, 1973, could be "sufficient and ample to account for ...


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