A-14831, JULY 1, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 1

A-14831: Jul 1, 1926

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DISABLED AMERICAN - MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT WHERE A SEAMAN DISABLED BEFORE ENTERING THE SHIP'S SERVICE IS UNABLE TO PERFORM SERVICE ON BOARD THE SHIP BY REASON OF SUCH DISABILITY AND IS PLACED IN A HOSPITAL AT A FOREIGN PORT BY THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL. PAYMENT OF THE HOSPITAL BILL IS NOT AUTHORIZED FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE RELIEF OF AMERICAN SEAMEN. REQUESTING A DECISION OF THE QUESTION WHETHER THERE IS PAYABLE FROM THE FUNDS FOR THE RELIEF OF AMERICAN SEAMEN. WHO IS STATED TO BE A NATIVE OF NEWFOUNDLAND. IT APPEARS THAT PRIOR TO GOING ON BOARD HE HAD SUFFERED A SEVERE BURN AND THE NEXT MORNING REPORTED TO THE MASTER THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO WORK. HE WAS ACCORDINGLY PUT ASHORE AT HALIFAX AND PLACED IN THE VICTORIA GENERAL HOSPITAL AT THAT PLACE APPARENTLY BY THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL.

A-14831, JULY 1, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 1

SEAMEN, DISABLED AMERICAN - MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT WHERE A SEAMAN DISABLED BEFORE ENTERING THE SHIP'S SERVICE IS UNABLE TO PERFORM SERVICE ON BOARD THE SHIP BY REASON OF SUCH DISABILITY AND IS PLACED IN A HOSPITAL AT A FOREIGN PORT BY THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL, WITHOUT HAVING BEEN DISCHARGED, PAYMENT OF THE HOSPITAL BILL IS NOT AUTHORIZED FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE RELIEF OF AMERICAN SEAMEN.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, JULY 1, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 17, 1926, REQUESTING A DECISION OF THE QUESTION WHETHER THERE IS PAYABLE FROM THE FUNDS FOR THE RELIEF OF AMERICAN SEAMEN, THE COST OF MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT OF A SEAMAN PLACED IN A HOSPITAL AT A FOREIGN PORT BY THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES BRIEFLY STATED AS FOLLOWS:

ALFRED CULLEN, WHO IS STATED TO BE A NATIVE OF NEWFOUNDLAND, SHIPPED ON THE AMERICAN TRAWLER, ALDEN A. MILLS, AT BOSTON LEAVING THAT PORT ON APRIL 27, 1926. IT APPEARS THAT PRIOR TO GOING ON BOARD HE HAD SUFFERED A SEVERE BURN AND THE NEXT MORNING REPORTED TO THE MASTER THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO WORK. HE WAS ACCORDINGLY PUT ASHORE AT HALIFAX AND PLACED IN THE VICTORIA GENERAL HOSPITAL AT THAT PLACE APPARENTLY BY THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL. HE REMAINED IN THE HOSPITAL UNTIL MAY 16, 1926, WHEN HE WAS RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL. THE HOSPITAL SUBMITTED ITS BILL OF $53.50 TO THE OCEAN TRAWLING COMPANY, THE OWNERS OF THE VESSEL UPON WHICH THE SEAMAN HAD SHIPPED, AND THAT COMPANY THROUGH ITS ATTORNEYS DECLINED TO PAY THE SAME, DENYING ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCH TREATMENT.

SECTION 4581, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1898, 30 STAT. 759, PROVIDES:

* * * IF THE SEAMAN IS DISCHARGED ON ACCOUNT OF INJURY OR ILLNESS, INCAPACITATING HIM FOR SERVICE, THE EXPENSES OF HIS MAINTENANCE AND RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE PAID FROM THE FUND FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND TRANSPORTATION OF DESTITUTE AMERICAN SEAMEN.

IT WAS STATED IN 2 COMP. GEN. 438, THAT (SYLLABUS/---

A CONSULAR OFFICER IS NOT REQUIRED BY LAW TO FURNISH RELIEF FROM UNITED STATES FUNDS TO A SEAMAN WHO HAS NOT BEEN DISCHARGED UNLESS SAID SEAMAN IS FOUND DESTITUTE WITHIN THE CONSULAR OFFICER'S DISTRICT. * * *

IT DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE PRESENT CASE THAT THE SEAMAN WAS DISCHARGED BY OR BEFORE THE CONSULAR OFFICER, OR THAT THE CONSULAR OFFICER DIRECTED OR AUTHORIZED HIS HOSPITALIZATION. THE UNITED STATES ASSUMES NO LIABILITY FOR HOSPITAL TREATMENT OF AN AMERICAN SEAMAN IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WHEN HE IS PLACED IN THE HOSPITAL BY AUTHORITY OF THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH SERVING.

IN THIS CASE, THE HOSPITAL HAVING ACCEPTED THE DISABLED SEAMAN ON THE ORDERS OF THE MASTER OF THE VESSEL, IT MUST LOOK TO THE MASTER OR THE OWNERS OF THE VESSEL FOR PAYMENT. 14 COMP. DEC. 48; 15 ID. 570; 3 COMP. GEN. 755; 4 ID. 247.

UNDER THE CONDITIONS STATED THE CONSULAR OFFICER WOULD NOT BE AUTHORIZED TO PAY THE HOSPITAL BILL FROM THE FUNDS OF THE UNITED STATES.