A-13944, APRIL 26, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 862

A-13944: Apr 26, 1926

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IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM PUBLIC FUNDS FOR THE EXPENSES OF SUCH TREATMENT. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 10. IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES FOR CIVILIAN. NO EVIDENCE IS SUBMITTED HOW THAT AMOUNT IS ARRIVED AT NOR IS EVIDENCE OF PAYMENT BY CHIEF GUNNER TUCKER FURNISHED. IT IS STATED CHIEF GUNNER TUCKER WAS ATTACHED TO THE U.S.S. WHEN HE WAS GRANTED 10 DAYS' LEAVE. HE WAS TAKEN ILL AND OPERATED ON FOR APPENDICITIS AT THE PASADENA HOSPITAL IN PASADENA. PRESUMABLY THE CLAIM IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR COST OF SERVICES OF PRIVATE SURGEONS AND PHYSICIANS AND FOR HOSPITAL TREATMENT WHILE IN SAID HOSPITAL. NAVY WAS GRANTED LEAVE OF ABSENCE 24 OCTOBER. HE WAS STRICKEN WITH ACUTE APPENDICITIS AND OPERATED UPON 28 OCTOBER.

A-13944, APRIL 26, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 862

MEDICAL TREATMENT - OFFICER OF THE NAVY ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1586, REVISED STATUTES, AN OFFICER OF THE NAVY WHO BECAME ILL WHILE ON LEAVE AT HIS HOME, AND WHO SECURED PRIVATE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT, IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM PUBLIC FUNDS FOR THE EXPENSES OF SUCH TREATMENT, NOTWITHSTANDING AN ATTEMPT TO PLACE HIM IN A DUTY STATUS BY THE CANCELLATION OF HIS LEAVE AS OF THE DATE HE ENTERED THE HOSPITAL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, APRIL 26, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 10, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER CHIEF GUNNER EDWARD S. TUCKER, UNITED STATES NAVY, IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES FOR CIVILIAN, MEDICAL, AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT INCURRED WHILE IN HOSPITAL AT PASADENA, CALIF., FROM OCTOBER 28 TO DECEMBER 2, 1924, $961.80. NO EVIDENCE IS SUBMITTED HOW THAT AMOUNT IS ARRIVED AT NOR IS EVIDENCE OF PAYMENT BY CHIEF GUNNER TUCKER FURNISHED.

IT IS STATED CHIEF GUNNER TUCKER WAS ATTACHED TO THE U.S.S. MARYLAND AT SAN PEDRO, CALIF., WHEN HE WAS GRANTED 10 DAYS' LEAVE, BEGINNING OCTOBER 24, 1924. WHILE ON LEAVE AT HIS HOME IN PASADENA, CALIF., HE WAS TAKEN ILL AND OPERATED ON FOR APPENDICITIS AT THE PASADENA HOSPITAL IN PASADENA, CALIF. PRESUMABLY THE CLAIM IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR COST OF SERVICES OF PRIVATE SURGEONS AND PHYSICIANS AND FOR HOSPITAL TREATMENT WHILE IN SAID HOSPITAL.

RELATIVE TO SAID ILLNESS OF CHIEF GUNNER TUCKER AND HIS TREATMENT IN SAID HOSPITAL, THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE U.S.S. MARYLAND ON NOVEMBER 19, 1924, REPORTED TO THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION AS FOLLOWS:

1. CHIEF GUNNER E. S. TUCKER, U.S. NAVY WAS GRANTED LEAVE OF ABSENCE 24 OCTOBER, 1924, TO EXPIRE 6 NOVEMBER, 1924.

2. ON 28 OCTOBER, 1924, HE WAS STRICKEN WITH ACUTE APPENDICITIS AND OPERATED UPON 28 OCTOBER, 1924, AT THE PASADENA HOSPITAL, PASADENA, CALIFORNIA.

3. HIS RECOVERY FROM THE OPERATION FOR APPENDICITIS WAS NORMAL, BUT BEFORE COMPLETE, HE WAS STRICKEN WITH PLEURISY OR PNEUMONIA AND HAS NOT BEEN IN CONDITION TO BE REMOVED FROM THE HOSPITAL UP TO THE PRESENT TIME.

4. HE IS UNDER OBSERVATION BY THE MEDICAL OFFICERS OF THE SHIP.

5. HIS LEAVE WAS CANCELED FROM THE DATE OF ENTRY TO THE HOSPITAL.

SECTION 1586, REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDES THAT:

EXPENSES INCURRED BY ANY OFFICER OF THE NAVY FOR MEDICINES AND MEDICAL ATTENDANCE SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED UNLESS THEY WERE INCURRED WHEN HE WAS ON DUTY, AND THE MEDICINES COULD NOT HAVE BEEN OBTAINED FROM NAVAL SUPPLIES, OR THE ATTENDANCE OF A NAVAL MEDICAL OFFICIAL COULD NOT HAVE BEEN HAD.

AN OFFICER ON LEAVE IS NOT ON DUTY, AND THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS WHETHER WHEN AN OFFICER ON LEAVE BECOMES ILL AND OUT OF THE REACH OF THE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL FACILITIES PROVIDED BY OR IN PURSUANCE OF LAW FOR HIS CARE, AN ORDER CANCELING HIS LEAVE CAN PLACE HIM IN A "DUTY STATUS" AND TAKE HIS CASE OUT OF THE PROHIBITION OF SECTION 1586, REVISED STATUTES. THE PLAIN AND CLEARLY EXPRESSED PURPOSE AND INTENT OF SECTION 1586, REVISED STATUTES, IS TO DENY REIMBURSEMENT OF MEDICAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN OFFICER WHEN NOT ON DUTY AND ITS PROVISIONS CAN NOT BE CIRCUMVENTED BY FACTITIOUS ORDERS. ON THE FACTS PRESENTED, PAYMENT OF CHIEF GUNNER TUCKER'S CLAIM IS PROHIBITED BY LAW.