A-85542, MAY 4, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 973

A-85542: May 4, 1937

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PAYMENT FOR PRIVATE AMBULANCE SERVICE FURNISHED ARMY ENLISTED MEN INJURED WHILE ON PASS PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED FOR PRIVATE AMBULANCE SERVICE FURNISHED. THAT THE MEN WERE ON PASS AND UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL AT THE TIME OF INJURY. PAYMENT FOR WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY STATUTE WHILE ON FURLOUGH. 1937: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE APPLICATION OF PEAK-HAGEDON FUNERAL HOME. IT IS CERTIFIED THAT THE ENLISTED MEN HAD NO DUTY TO PERFORM AT THEIR STATION. PROVIDES: ENLISTED MEN OF THIS COMMAND WHOSE CONDUCT HAS BEEN GOOD ARE PERMITTED TO VISIT EL PASO AND VICINITY WITHOUT A SPECIAL PASS WHEN OFF DUTY. THE ENLISTED MEN CONCERNED ARE CERTIFIED BY THEIR DETACHMENT COMMANDER TO HAVE LEFT THEIR ORGANIZATION ABOUT 6:30 A.M.

A-85542, MAY 4, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 973

PAYMENT FOR PRIVATE AMBULANCE SERVICE FURNISHED ARMY ENLISTED MEN INJURED WHILE ON PASS PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED FOR PRIVATE AMBULANCE SERVICE FURNISHED, UPON EMERGENCY CALL OF A CIVILIAN, ARMY ENLISTED MEN INJURED IN AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT WHILE IN CIVILIAN CLOTHES, AND WHILE ACCOMPANYING A CIVILIAN IN HIS AUTOMOBILE, NOTWITHSTANDING THE AVAILABILITY OF ARMY AMBULANCES HAD THE MILITARY AUTHORITIES BEEN NOTIFIED, AND THAT THE MEN WERE ON PASS AND UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL AT THE TIME OF INJURY, THE SERVICE HAVING BEEN CALLED FOR AND PROVIDED IN GOOD FAITH IN IGNORANCE OF THE IDENTITY OF THE INJURED, THE ALCOHOLIC CONDITION OF THE MEN NOT BEING THE PROXIMATE OR REMOTE CAUSE OF THE INJURY, AND THE SERVICE PERFORMED NOT BEING TREATMENT IN PRIVATE HOSPITALS OR BY CIVILIAN PHYSICIANS, PAYMENT FOR WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY STATUTE WHILE ON FURLOUGH.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT, MAY 4, 1937:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE APPLICATION OF PEAK-HAGEDON FUNERAL HOME, EL PASO, TEX., FOR REVIEW OF SETTLEMENTS OF DECEMBER 23, 1936 (0603498, RELATING TO LAMAR E. CHISOLM, PRIVATE, TROOP B, SEVENTH CAVALRY, AND 0603499, RELATING TO GILMAN B. PEEKE, JR., PRIVATE FIRST CLASS, TROOP B, SEVENTH CAVALRY), WHICH DISALLOWED ITS CLAIM OF $25 EACH (TOTAL $50) FOR AMBULANCE SERVICES RENDERED IN THE CASE OF THE ENLISTED MEN NAMED IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER STATED.

IT IS CERTIFIED THAT THE ENLISTED MEN HAD NO DUTY TO PERFORM AT THEIR STATION, FORT BLISS, EX., FROM 1 P.M. SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 1936, TO 6 A.M. MONDAY, APRIL 27, 1936, AND PARAGRAPH 30-A OF THE STANDING ORDERS AT FORT BLISS, TEX., PROVIDES:

ENLISTED MEN OF THIS COMMAND WHOSE CONDUCT HAS BEEN GOOD ARE PERMITTED TO VISIT EL PASO AND VICINITY WITHOUT A SPECIAL PASS WHEN OFF DUTY, SUBJECT TO SUCH RESTRICTIONS AS MAY BE IMPOSED BY UNIT AND ORGANIZATION COMMANDERS.

UNDER THIS PROVISION, THE ENLISTED MEN CONCERNED ARE CERTIFIED BY THEIR DETACHMENT COMMANDER TO HAVE LEFT THEIR ORGANIZATION ABOUT 6:30 A.M. SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 1936. IT APPEARS FROM THE PAPERS THAT THEY, IN COMPANY WITH TWO OTHER ENLISTED MEN (ONE OF WHOM IS CERTIFIED TO HAVE BEEN ON FURLOUGH), ACCOMPANIED A CIVILIAN IN HIS AUTOMOBILE, INTENDING TO GO TO FORT D.A. RUSSELL, MARFA, TEX., WHEN AT ABOUT 8 A.M., ON U.S. HIGHWAY NO. 80, VARIOUSLY STATED AS 1/2 MILE AND 4 MILES WEST OF FORT HANCOCK AND APPROXIMATELY 51 MILES FROM FORT BLISS, THE AUTOMOBILE WAS IN COLLISION WITH A TRUCK AND ALL OCCUPANTS WERE INJURED IN VARIOUS DEGREES OF SEVERITY. ALL THE ENLISTED MEN WERE IN CIVILIAN CLOTHES AND MRS. GEORGE PAGE, STATED TO BE THE TELEPHONE OPERATOR AT FORT HANCOCK, TEX., AND WHO, WITH HER HUSBAND, WAS AMONG THE FIRST TO ARRIVE AT THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT AND RENDERED FIRST AID, TELEPHONED TO EL PASO FOR AMBULANCES TO REMOVE THE INJURED TO HOSPITALS THERE. CLAIMANT RESPONDED WITH TWO AMBULANCES AND THE STATUS OF THE FOREGOING ENLISTED MEN BECOMING KNOWN, THEY WERE DELIVERED TO THE ARMY WILLIAM BEAUMONT GENERAL HOSPITAL AT EL PASO, TEX., THE SAME DAY, HOUR NOT SHOWN.

NONE OF THE ENLISTED MEN WAS DRIVING, THE CAR HAVING BEEN DRIVEN BY THE CIVILIAN OWNER. ALL THE ENLISTED MEN ARE STATED TO HAVE BEEN DRINKING AND WHEN ADMITTED TO THE ARMY GENERAL HOSPITAL WERE FOUND TO HAVE BEEN UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL AT THE TIME OF ADMISSION, BUT THE BOARD OF OFFICERS WHICH INVESTIGATED THE ACCIDENT FOUND THAT ALTHOUGH IN THE OF THESE TWO ENLISTED MEN THEY WERE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL "AT THE TIME OF INCURRENCE OF INJURY, THAT THIS CONDITION WAS NOT THE PROXIMATE OR REMOTE CAUSE OF THE INJURY.'

THE ARMY APPROPRIATION ACT, UNDER "MEDICAL DEPARTMENT" FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1936, 49 STAT. 134, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS WHICH HAS APPEARED IN THESE APPROPRIATION ACTS SINCE 1907---

* * * FOR MEDICAL CARE AND TREATMENT NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, INCLUDING CARE AND SUBSISTENCE IN PRIVATE HOSPITALS OF OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY, OF APPLICANTS FOR ENLISTMENT, AND OF PRISONERS OF WAR AND OTHER PERSONS IN MILITARY CUSTODY OR CONFINEMENT, WHEN ENTITLED THERETO BY LAW, REGULATIONS, OR CONTRACT: PROVIDED, THAT THIS SHALL NOT APPLY TO OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN WHO ARE TREATED IN PRIVATE HOSPITALS OR BY CIVILIAN PHYSICIANS WHILE ON FURLOUGH; * * *

HOWEVER, THE CHARGE IS NOT FOR HOSPITAL TREATMENT OR TREATMENT BY CIVILIAN PHYSICIANS. IN A SIMILAR CASE INVOLVING AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE NAVY IT WAS SAID IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1932 (A-38723), ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, IN DISCUSSING PAYMENTS FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT INCURRED BECAUSE OF INJURIES TO ENLISTED MEN WHILE ON PASS OR FURLOUGH---

VOUCHER 681, PALM FUNERAL PARLORS, AMBULANCE SERVICES RENDERED FOR GRINNEL E. LONG, SEAMAN, 1ST CL., U.S.N., $30.00.

LONG WAS ABSENT ON AUTHORIZED LIBERTY FROM 10 A.M., OCTOBER 26, 1930, TO 7:30 A.M. OCTOBER 27, 1930, FROM THE U.S.S. LONG (209) AT SAN DIEGO, CALIF., AND WHILE RIDING A MOTORCYCLE NEAR FALLBROOK, CALIF., HE WAS STRUCK BY AN AUTOMOBILE AND SUFFERED A FRACTURE, SIMPLE, LEFT RADIUS AND ULNA. THE AMBULANCE SERVICE WAS NECESSARY TO BRING HIM TO THE U.S. NAVAL HOSPITAL AT SAN DIEGO AS IT IS STATED THE HOSPITAL AMBULANCE WAS NOT AVAILABLE. IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WAS APPROPRIATE TO PROCURE OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. THE SERVICES HERE, IT WILL BE NOTED, ARE FOR TRANSPORTATION, NOT MEDICAL OR HOSPITAL TREATMENT, AND IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES SHOWN, THE VOUCHER, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, WILL BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

ALL THAT DISTINGUISHES THIS CASE FROM THE FOREGOING ONE IS THAT THE SURGEON AT FORT BLISS REPORTED BY FIRST INDORSEMENT MAY 14, 1936:

2.IT APPEARS THAT ONE MRS. GEORGE PAGE, TELEPHONE OPERATOR AT FORT HANCOCK, TEXAS, WITNESS TO AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT IN WHICH FOUR ENLISTED MEN FROM FORT BLISS WERE INVOLVED, CALLED EL PASO, TEXAS, FOR AMBULANCE SERVICE, NOT KNOWING AT THE TIME THAT THE INJURED PERSONS WERE IN THE MILITARY SERVICE, THEY BEING DRESSED IN CIVILIAN CLOTHES AND TRAVELING IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

3. AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT, THERE WAS SUFFICIENT GOVERNMENT AMBULANCE SERVICE AVAILABLE AT FORT BLISS AND WILLIAM BEAUMONT GENERAL HOSPITAL TO HAVE EVACUATED THESE CASES HAD THE MILITARY AUTHORITIES AT THESE PLACES BEEN NOTIFIED.

4. IT IS BELIEVED THAT MRS. PAGE, PEAK-HAGEDON FUNERAL HOME AND THE HARTFORD MORTUARY ACTED IN GOOD FAITH IN CALLING FOR AND DISPATCHING THE AMBULANCES, BEING AT THE TIME IGNORANT OF THE MILITARY STATUS OF THE PERSONS CONCERNED. * * *

PERSONS HAD BEEN SERIOUSLY INJURED AND AN EMERGENCY CALL FOR AMBULANCE SERVICE TO CARRY THE INJURED TO HOSPITAL WAS MADE. HAD ALL THE FACTS BEEN KNOWN OR HAD THE NATURE OF THE CASE PERMITTED ASCERTAINING THE FACTS, GOVERNMENT AMBULANCES WERE AVAILABLE, BUT IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED, FAILURE TO ASCERTAIN THE IDENTITY OF THE INJURED, THEIR STATUS, AND THEN COMMUNICATE WITH ARMY AUTHORITIES IS CLEARLY NOT NECESSARILY CONTROLLING. THE CLAIMANT DID NOT SOLICIT THE OPPORTUNITY TO AFFORD AMBULANCE SERVICE TO INJURED ENLISTED MEN, THE CLAIMANT WAS CALLED BY TELEPHONE IN AN EMERGENCY TO AFFORD SUCH SERVICES TO INJURED INDIVIDUALS--- IDENTITY AND STATUS UNKNOWN--- AND WHO WERE AT A DISTANCE FROM EL PASO, AND RESPONDED ACCORDINGLY. THERE BEING NO QUESTION AS TO THE GOOD FAITH OF ALL PARTIES, THE APPROPRIATION BEING AVAILABLE FOR TRANSPORTATION BY AMBULANCE OF INJURED ENLISTED MEN WHEN NECESSARY, AND THE SURGEON GENERAL HAVING REPORTED THAT THE CHARGES MADE ARE REASONABLE, ON REVIEW THE SETTLEMENTS ARE REVISED AND $50 IS CERTIFIED DUE CLAIMANT.