DORIS BAKER, Dependent widow of ARNOLD BAKER, CLAIMANT-APPELLANT vs. COLT INDUSTRIES, EMPLOYER, SELF-INSURED, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE

CASE NO. 106 CRD-1-81Workers’ Compensation Commission
MAY 13, 1983

The Claimant-Appellant was represented by Thaddeus W. Maliszewski, Esq.

The Respondent-Appellee was represented by Douglas L. Drayton, Esq.

This Petition for Review from the November 13, 1981 Decision of the Commissioner for the First District was argued on December 9, 1982 before a Compensation Review Division Panel consisting of Commissioners John Arcudi, Edward F. Bradley and Robin Waller.

John Arcudi, Chairman, Edward F. Bradley, Commissioner, Robin Waller, Commissioner

FINDING AND AWARD

1-11. Paragraphs 1 through 11 of the Commissioner’s November 13, 1981 Finding are made paragraphs 1-11 of this Division’s Finding and Award.

12. The decedent was pronounced dead at 7:48 a.m.

13-21. Paragraphs 13 through 21 of the Commissioner’s Finding are made paragraphs 13 through 21 of this Division’s Finding and Award.

OPINION

Claimant’s decedent had been an employee of Colt Industries in Hartford for some 29 years until February 17, 1979. Prior to February 17, 1979 decedent had had a medical history reflective of heart problems, arteriosclerosis and hypertension. On the day in question decedent clocked in before the 7:00 a.m. shift and sat down at his work area waiting for the starting bell. When the bell rang, decedent arose from his chair, took a step and collapsed to the wooden floor.

Police were called to the plant and decedent was sent by ambulance to Hartford Hospital. Decedent experienced cardiac arrest in the ambulance and CPR was administered, but he did not seem to be responding. Decedent was pronounced dead at Hartford Hospital at 7:48 a.m.

The Claimant widow contended that decedent’s death arose out of and in the course of employment either due to repetitive trauma, repetitive acts, occupational disease, or as an aggravation of a pre-existing disease. The Commissioner did not find that the heart attack and the death arose out of and during the course of employment.

In attacking the Commissioner’s conclusions, the brief of the Claimant-Appellant uses colorful prose, “. . . a comparison of the testimony and medical opinions of Dr. Izumi with Dr. Sappington is like comparing the Renaissance with the Dark Ages of medicine.” Dr. Ernest M. Izumi of Winsted, a board certified pathologist and an assistant clinical Professor of Pathology at the Yale Medical School had testified for Claimant and had concluded that there was some relation between work stress and decedent’s death. Dr. Joseph B. Sappington, a board certified cardiologist of Hartford, testifying for the Respondent had found no work connection.

There certainly is sufficient basis in the testimony for the Commissioner to rule as he did, and we as an appellate tribunal cannot substitute our own conclusions, Adzima vs. U.A.C./Norden Division, 177 Conn. 107 (1979). But Claimant-Appellant’s argument goes beyond the usual who has the better expert question. Her brief cites Dudley vs. Victor Lyon Lines, Inc. 32 N.J. 479, 161 A.2d 479 (1960), a New Jersey case which held an employer liable due to its negligence in failing to provide prompt medical attention.

Part of this latter argument attacks paragraph 12 of the Commissioner’s finding which had stated that decedent was at the Hartford Hospital some forty-five minutes until 7:48 a.m. before he was pronounced dead. We have granted a correction of that particular paragraph, because the time sequence of the events which occurred would seem to make it impossible for the decedent to have arrived at the Hartford Hospital at 7:03 a.m. However, that correction does not render the Commissioner’s ultimate conclusion of noncompensability incorrect. There is no precedent in Connecticut Workers’ Compensation law which would justify a ruling under the Dudley doctrine. There may very well be a common law remedy, but that is not our province.

One final point raised by the Appellant needs to be considered. She has made a motion to present further medical testimony, because she alleges that the Respondent’s dilatoriness in presenting its medical testimony rendered it impossible for Claimant to have her own medical expert present when the opposing expert testified. The record shows that Claimant did have an opportunity to present such medical testimony before the Commissioner below but failed to avail herself of it. Now that the Commissioner has acted unfavorably on her claim, she has had second thoughts about further medical testimony. Her change of mind comes too late. There was a full opportunity for presentation of evidence below, and there therefore is no basis for our granting the motion for further testimony.

The decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.