A-26633, APRIL 5, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 527

A-26633: Apr 5, 1929

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ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL LEAVES AND ENTERS THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS AND IS THEN FORMALLY DISCHARGED FROM ST. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE CASE OF ROLAND W. LOCKE WHO WAS ADMITTED TO THIS HOSPITAL FOR CARE AND TREATMENT ON MARCH 30. WHO WAS DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CARE AND TREATMENT ON JANUARY 7. LOCKE WAS ADMITTED TO THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS. AT THE TIME OF HIS DEPARTURE FROM THIS HOSPITAL THE AMOUNT OF $455.68 WAS CREDITED TO HIS ACCOUNT AND WE HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO DISBURSE THIS. LOCKE IS ABLE TO SIGN A VOUCHER FOR THE AMOUNT IN QUESTION. LOCKE IS MENTALLY INCOMPETENT. HIS CONDITION IS SUCH THAT HE CAN NOT SIGN HIS NAME. HIS CONDITION IS SUCH THAT HE WOULD NOT REALIZE WHAT HE WAS DOING.

A-26633, APRIL 5, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 527

ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL - PRIVATE FUNDS OF PATIENTS WHERE AN INSANE PATIENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL LEAVES AND ENTERS THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS AND IS THEN FORMALLY DISCHARGED FROM ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, HIS PRIVATE FUNDS MAY NOT BE TRANSFERRED TO THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS OR ONE OF ITS BRANCHES SOLELY ON THE WITNESSED MARK OF THE INSANE PERSON, BUT SHOULD BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE SPECIAL FUND DESIGNATED AS "UNCLAIMED MONEYS OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS, ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL (SPECIAL FUND)" TO BE HELD IN TRUST FOR HIM AND TO BE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF ANY LAWFUL CLAIM WHICH MAY BE HEREAFTER SUBMITTED AND ESTABLISHED BY HIM OR ON HIS BEHALF BY A QUALIFIED REPRESENTATIVE OF HIS PERSON OR ESTATE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, APRIL 5, 1929:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 26, 1929, REQUESTING DECISION OF THE QUESTION INVOLVED IN LETTER DATED MARCH 25, 1929, ADDRESSED TO YOU BY THE ASSISTANT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE CASE OF ROLAND W. LOCKE WHO WAS ADMITTED TO THIS HOSPITAL FOR CARE AND TREATMENT ON MARCH 30, 1925, AND WHO WAS DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CARE AND TREATMENT ON JANUARY 7, 1926, HE HAVING LEFT THE HOSPITAL WITHOUT PERMISSION ON NOVEMBER 9, 1925, AND ALL EFFORTS TO LOCATE HIM HAVING BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL. MR. LOCKE WAS ADMITTED TO THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS, NATIONAL HOME, VA., ON DECEMBER 15, 1926.

AT THE TIME OF HIS DEPARTURE FROM THIS HOSPITAL THE AMOUNT OF $455.68 WAS CREDITED TO HIS ACCOUNT AND WE HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO DISBURSE THIS, THERE BEING NO LEGAL GUARDIAN OR COMMITTEE. THE GOVERNOR OF THE NATIONAL SOLDIERS' HOME, IN RESPONSE TO OUR INQUIRY AS TO WHETHER OR NOT MR. LOCKE IS ABLE TO SIGN A VOUCHER FOR THE AMOUNT IN QUESTION, TO PERMIT US TO CLOSE THIS ACCOUNT, STATED AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * ROLAND W. LOCKE IS MENTALLY INCOMPETENT, DIAGNOSED AS SATATONIC PRECOX. HIS CONDITION IS SUCH THAT HE CAN NOT SIGN HIS NAME, EVEN IF HE COULD, HIS CONDITION IS SUCH THAT HE WOULD NOT REALIZE WHAT HE WAS DOING.

"HOWEVER, IF IT IS WITHIN YOUR REGULATIONS WE CAN HAVE HIM SIGN BY MARK AND WITNESSED BY THE SENIOR MEDICAL OFFICER OF THIS INSTITUTION.'

THE OPINION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL IS THEREFORE DESIRED, AS TO WHETHER THERE IS ANY OBJECTION TO THE PROCUREMENT OF MR. LOCKE'S SIGNATURE BY MARK PROPERLY WITNESSED, TO A VOUCHER COVERING HIS FUNDS, WHICH REPRESENT HIS OWN PERSONAL MONEY, AND TO THE PAYMENT THEREAFTER OF SUCH FUNDS TO MR. LOCKE, CHECK TO BE FORWARDED TO HIM IN CARE OF THE NATIONAL SOLDIERS' HOME, VIRGINIA.

IN DECISION OF MAY 3, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 890, INVOLVING DISPOSITION TO BE MADE OF THE PERSONAL FUNDS OF AN INMATE OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, WHO HAD BEEN TRANSFERRED TO A VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL, THE STATEMENT WAS MADE THAT A VOUCHER OR RECEIPT SIGNED BY AN INSANE PERSON WOULD NOT CONSTITUTE A PROPER RELEASE FROM RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FUNDS OF SUCH PATIENT, AND IT WAS HELD AS FOLLOWS (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

UPON THE TRANSFER OF AN INSANE PATIENT FROM SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL TO A VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL HIS PRIVATE FUNDS RECEIVED FROM SOME OTHER SOURCE THAN THE VETERANS' BUREAU MAY NOT BE TRANSFERRED TO THE HOSPITAL TO WHICH THE PATIENT IS TRANSFERRED IN THE ABSENCE OF A REQUEST, ORDER, OR CONSENT, FROM SOMEONE AUTHORIZED TO ACT FOR THE PATIENT IN THE MATTER. THE PATIENT HAS BEEN FOUND SANE AFTER HIS TRANSFER, HIS FUNDS MAY BE FORWARDED TO HIM BY CHECK TO HIS ORDER, IN CARE OF THE HOSPITAL TO WHICH TRANSFERRED.

THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LAWS GOVERNING THE CREATION, MAINTENANCE, AND REGULATION OF THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS WHICH WOULD CONSTITUTE THE HEAD OF THE CENTRAL HOME, OR ANY OF ITS BRANCHES, THE LEGAL GUARDIAN OF AN INSANE INMATE. IT IS TRUE THAT REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN PROMULGATED BY THE HOME FOR THE SAFEKEEPING OF FUNDS OF INCOMPETENT INMATES BUT THIS REGULATION, APPARENTLY ISSUED UNDER THE GENERAL AUTHORITY OF STATUTE AUTHORIZING REGULATIONS FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE HOME, WOULD NOT BE SUFFICIENT TO CONSTITUTE THE HEAD OF THE INSTITUTION THE LEGAL GUARDIAN OF THE INSANE INMATE, EXCEPT POSSIBLY AS TO PENSION MONEY. SEE SECTIONS 177, 178, AND 179 OF THE REGULATIONS FOR THE HOME, 1918, AND GENERAL ORDER 4, DATED JUNE 17, 1919.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE MONEY TO THE CREDIT OF ROLAND W. LOCKE MAY NOT BE PAID TO HIM PERSONALLY, OR IN CARE OF THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS, SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF A RECEIPT OR VOUCHER SIGNED BY HIS MARK AND WITNESSED. THE MONEY SHOULD BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE SPECIAL FUND DESIGNATED AS "UNCLAIMED MONEYS OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS, SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL (SPECIAL FUND)" TO BE HELD IN TRUST FOR HIM AND TO BE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF ANY LAWFUL CLAIM WHICH MAY BE HEREAFTER SUBMITTED AND ESTABLISHED BY HIM OR ON HIS BEHALF BY A QUALIFIED REPRESENTATIVE OF HIS PERSON OR ESTATE. 7 COMP. GEN. 386.