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A. G. Crunkleton Electric Co. v. Barkdoll

Decided: January 23, 1962.

A. G. CRUNKLETON ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC. ET AL.
v.
BARKDOLL



Appeal from the Circuit Court for Washington County; Cobey, J.

Hammond, Horney, Marbury and Sybert, JJ., and Duckett, J., Associate Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, specially assigned. Marbury, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.

Marbury

Albert L. Barkdoll, claimant and appellee, was employed by the appellant, A. G. Crunkleton Electric Company, Inc. On November 26, 1951, Barkdoll, during the course of his employment, sustained fourth and fifth degree burns on both arms and as a result of these injuries had to undergo a bilateral amputation. Each arm was amputated about four inches below the shoulder.

He was hospitalized for a long period of time following this accident, both for treatment and attempted rehabilitation. For approximately two years after the accident he was furnished with nursing services. By way of workmen's compensation the employer-insurer, U. S. F. & G. Co., the other appellant, paid him the maximum benefits allowable under the existing statutes for both temporary total disability and permanent total disability. As soon as his arms were sufficiently healed,

he was furnished with artificial arms. Due to the shortness of the stumps he is unable to use these very effectively. The record discloses that he can remove his clothes, but he cannot dress himself. He must have help in going to the toilet. He can only write by holding a pencil in his teeth, and can not use a cradle-type telephone, but he has found an old style telephone which he can operate. He has learned to type fairly well. Using his artificial arms he can drive a tractor but he must have someone to start it; if any difficulty develops he cannot make any repairs or service the machine. When he is at the table he can use his claw to lift food to his mouth that adheres to a fork, but anything else must be fed to him.

Barkdoll has been fitted with the latest models of artificial arms available, but with only minimum success, whereupon a specialist recommended that he undergo a cyineplasty procedure. This consisted of a graft on his right chest over the pectoral muscle, which formed a tunnel. A cable ran from the tunnel to an artificial arm, and it was hoped that by the use of the pectoral muscle he could have better control and use of the claw. This method did not improve the use of the artificial limb. This tunnel must be cleaned every day to avoid infection, and he is unable to do this.

The appellee at present is living in a small house on a tract of land, about ten acres, with his wife and two children. His mother-in-law lives nearby, and assists his wife in taking care of him. The amount he earns with the tractor appears to be nominal. He receives an annual allowance from the Veterans Administration of $2,700 for a non-service connected disability.

The Workmen's Compensation Commission entered an award for the appellee, directing the employer and insurer (appellants), to furnish the appellee necessary nursing service beginning as of June 23, 1960. Appellants then appealed to the Circuit Court for Washington County, which affirmed the award of the Commission. From the order of that court the appellants bring this appeal.

The appellants present three questions for our determination:

1. Did the Code (1951), Article 101, Section 36 (a) authorize the Workmen's Compensation Commission to award medical and nursing service beyond the ...


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