Case Law Update | Demchenko v. WCAB (Pa. Cmwlth. November 11, 2016) | PA Work Injury

November 11, 2016

Firefighter/paramedic worked for City of Phila from 1974-2006.  A month after retiring, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Michael Dryden represented against Kris Kachline of Chartwell.  Dr. Barry Singer, an oncologist, testified against Dr. Guidotti, a toxicologist/epidemiologist.  Unfortunately, Claimant could not establish that work exposure to “Group 1” toxins/carcinogens caused his cancer and not age, smoking, heredity, etc.  Key phrase:  “association does not mean causation.”  Moreover, Claimant’s petition was filed later than 300 weeks of his last day of work, so he missed out on the rebuttable presumption of causation for firefighters in Section 301(f), 77 PS 414.  Here’s the conclusion: 

In sum, Claimant’s medical evidence did not establish a causal relationship between prostate cancer and Group 1 carcinogens, and this was necessary in order to establish that his prostate cancer is an occupational disease under Section 108(r) of the Act. As a result, the presumption of compensability in Section 301(f) of the Act was unavailable to Claimant. Claimant’s medical evidence was also inadequate to prove his particular cancer was caused by workplace exposures to other carcinogens under Section 108(n) of the Act. As such, the presumption in Section 301(e) of the Act was not available to assist Claimant in making a case that his prostate cancer was a compensable occupational disease.

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