A-12335, JANUARY 29, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 551

A-12335: Jan 29, 1926

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MEDICAL TREATMENT - ALIEN SEAMEN AN ALIEN SEAMAN WHO HAD BEEN EXAMINED AND FOUND FREE OF DISEASE ON ARRIVAL AT A UNITED STATES PORT AND HAD BEEN DISCHARGED FOR A SUFFICIENT PERIOD OF TIME TO PERMIT THE DEVELOPMENT OR INCUBATION OF THE DISEASE WITH WHICH HE WAS SUBSEQUENTLY FOUND TO BE SUFFERING. MAY NOT BE PRESUMED TO HAVE CONTRACTED THE DISEASE PRIOR TO ARRIVAL AT THE UNITED STATES PORT AND THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL IS NOT LIABLE FOR THE EXPENSE OF THE SEAMAN'S TREATMENT IN A PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITAL. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 12. IS DESIRED. MEMBERS OF THE CREW WERE GIVEN THE USUAL MEDICAL INSPECTION AND FOUND TO BE FREE FROM DISEASE. WAS. WAS SUBMITTED TO THE COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS FOR COLLECTION.

A-12335, JANUARY 29, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 551

MEDICAL TREATMENT - ALIEN SEAMEN AN ALIEN SEAMAN WHO HAD BEEN EXAMINED AND FOUND FREE OF DISEASE ON ARRIVAL AT A UNITED STATES PORT AND HAD BEEN DISCHARGED FOR A SUFFICIENT PERIOD OF TIME TO PERMIT THE DEVELOPMENT OR INCUBATION OF THE DISEASE WITH WHICH HE WAS SUBSEQUENTLY FOUND TO BE SUFFERING, MAY NOT BE PRESUMED TO HAVE CONTRACTED THE DISEASE PRIOR TO ARRIVAL AT THE UNITED STATES PORT AND THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL IS NOT LIABLE FOR THE EXPENSE OF THE SEAMAN'S TREATMENT IN A PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITAL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JANUARY 29, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 12, 1925, AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR DECISION AS TO THE LEGALITY OF REFUND OF THE SUM OF $94.50 TO THE MASTER OF THE HONDURAN S.S. VENATOR, IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES, IS DESIRED.

UNDER DATE OF JUNE 9, 1925, THE STEAMSHIP IN QUESTION ARRIVED AT THE PORT OF MOBILE, ALABAMA. MEMBERS OF THE CREW WERE GIVEN THE USUAL MEDICAL INSPECTION AND FOUND TO BE FREE FROM DISEASE. ONE MEMBER OF THE CREW, NAMELY, JOHN BRENDSEL, WAS, ON THE DATE OF ARRIVAL, PAID OFF AND DISCHARGED FROM THE VESSEL TO "RESHIP FOREIGN.'

ON JUNE 12, 1925, THE IMMIGRATION INSPECTOR REMANDED THIS SEAMAN TO THE U.S. MARINE HOSPITAL AT MOBILE, ALABAMA, UNDER THE EXISTING LAW PERTAINING TO THE DETENTION OF PERSONS SUFFERING FROM A DANGEROUS AND LOATHSOME DISEASE, THEREBY GUARANTEEING HOSPITAL CHARGES TO THE U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. THE BILL FOR SUCH CHARGES, AMOUNTING TO $94.50,WAS SUBMITTED TO THE COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS FOR COLLECTION, AND, AS CUSTOMARY, THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL WAS REQUIRED TO MAKE PAYMENT BEFORE CLEARANCE WAS GIVEN. SUCH PAYMENT, HOWEVER, WAS MADE UNDER PROTEST IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE SEAMAN WAS NOT FOUND TO BE AFFLICTED WITH A DANGEROUS AND LOATHSOME DISEASE UPON ARRIVAL OF THE VESSEL AND THE SUBSEQUENT INSPECTION OF THE CREW BY A MEDICAL OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION, IT IS DESIRED TO STATE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE AND PROBABLE THAT THE DISEASE FOR WHICH THIS SEAMAN WAS TREATED--- NAMELY, CHANCROID--- COULD HAVE BEEN CONTRACTED AFTER HIS ARRIVAL IN PORT, THE INCUBATION PERIOD THEREOF BEING FROM 24 HOURS TO THREE DAYS.

IN THE EVENT YOU ARE OF THE OPINION THAT THE REFUND IN QUESTION CAN BE LEGALLY MADE, INFORMATION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE OR THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION SHOULD INITIATE SUCH ACTION.

THE ACT OF DECEMBER 26, 1920, 41 STAT. 1082, PROVIDES:

THAT ALIEN SEAMEN FOUND ON ARRIVAL IN PORTS OF THE UNITED STATES TO BE AFFLICTED WITH ANY OF THE DISABILITIES OR DISEASES MENTIONED IN SECTION 35 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 5, 1917, ENTITLED "AN ACT TO REGULATE THE IMMIGRATION OF ALIENS TO, AND THE RESIDENCE OF ALIENS IN, THE UNITED STATES," SHALL BE PLACED IN A HOSPITAL DESIGNATED BY THE IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL IN CHARGE AT THE PORT OF ARRIVAL AND TREATED, ALL EXPENSES CONNECTED THEREWITH, INCLUDING BURIAL IN THE EVENT OF DEATH, TO BE BORNE BY THE OWNER, AGENT, CONSIGNEE, OR MASTER OF THE VESSEL, AND NOT TO BE DEDUCTED FROM THE SEAMEN'S WAGES, AND NO SUCH VESSEL SHALL BE GRANTED CLEARANCE UNTIL SUCH EXPENSES ARE PAID OR THEIR PAYMENT APPROPRIATELY GUARANTEED AND THE COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS SO NOTIFIED BY THE IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL IN CHARGE * * *.

THE DISEASES MENTIONED IN SECTION 35 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 5, 1917, 39 STAT. 896, ARE "IDIOCY, IMBECILITY, INSANITY, EPILEPSY, TUBERCULOSIS IN ANY FORM, OR A LOATHSOME OR DANGEROUS CONTAGIOUS DISEASE.'

THE ACT OF DECEMBER 26, 1920, SUPRA, MAKING THE VESSEL LIABLE FOR THE EXPENSE OF TREATMENT OF ALIEN SEAMEN, APPLIES ONLY IN THE EVENT THE SEAMAN IS "FOUND ON ARRIVAL IN PORTS OF THE UNITED STATES" TO BE AFFLICTED WITH ONE OF THE SPECIFIED DISEASES. THE SEAMAN IN THIS CASE HAD BEEN EXAMINED AND FOUND FREE OF DISEASE UPON HIS ARRIVAL AND HAD BEEN DISCHARGED TO "RESHIP FOREIGN" AS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 33 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 5, 1917, 39 STAT. 896, AND, AS MORE THAN THE TIME USUALLY REQUIRED FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PARTICULAR DISEASE AFTER INFECTION HAD ELAPSED AFTER HIS ARRIVAL IN PORT AND DISCHARGE, BEFORE HE WAS FOUND TO BE SUFFERING THEREFROM, THERE CAN BE NO PRESUMPTION THAT HE HAD CONTRACTED THE DISEASE PRIOR TO HIS ARRIVAL. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL UPON WHICH THE SEAMAN ARRIVED IN THIS COUNTRY WAS NOT LIABLE FOR THE EXPENSE OF THE SEAMAN'S TREATMENT AND IS ENTITLED TO A REFUND OF THE AMOUNT ERRONEOUSLY COLLECTED FROM HIM.

IF THE MONEY COLLECTED HAS NOT BEEN COVERED INTO THE TREASURY IT SHOULD BE REFUNDED BY THE PRESENT HOLDER. IF IT HAS BEEN COVERED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE APPROPRIATION IT SHOULD BE REPAID FROM SAID APPROPRIATION.