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PAUL T. THOMPSON

FEBRUARY 27, 1945.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and

ordered to be printed

Mr. KEOGH, from the Committee on Claims, submitted the following

REPORT

[To accompany H. R. 905]

The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 905) for the relief of Paul T. Thompson, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

The amendments are as follows:

Line 6, after the word "Texas" insert the words "in full settlement of all claims against the United States”.

Line 7, after the word "expenses" insert the words “and property damage".

The purpose of the proposed legislation is to appropriate the sum of $2,750 to Paul T. Thompson, St. Jo, Tex., in full settlement of all claims against the United States for personal injuries and medical and hospital expenses incident thereto sustained as the result of a collision between the farm tractor on which he was riding and a United States Army automobile on Highway No. 82 near Nocona, Tex., on July 1, 1942.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

It appears that on July 1, 1942, at about 6 p. m., a Government sedan assigned to the United States engineer office, Denison, Tex., and operated by a civilian employee of the War Department on official business, was proceeding west on Highway No. 82 between St. Jo, and Nocona, Tex., at an undetermined rate of speed. At the same time a Farmall tractor, owned and operated by Paul T. Thompson, Route No. 1, St. Jo, Tex., was proceeding in the same direction on his proper side of the same highway at a slow rate of speed. At a point about 9 miles east of Nocona, the Government driver overtook Mr. Thompson's tractor and moved to his left of the center of the road for the purpose of passing the slower-moving vehicle. As the Government driver attempted to execute this movement his vision

H. Repts., 79-1, vol. 1

-89

was partially impaired by the setting sun which was directly in his eyes, and he failed to observe an unidentified civilian vehicle which was approaching from the opposite direction until it was too late for him to return to his proper traffic lane. When he saw the oncoming vehicle, however, he swerved to his right to avoid colliding with it and crashed into the left rear of the tractor, throwing its driver from his seat to the ground on the shoulder of the road.

As a result of the accident the tractor was damaged beyond economical repair and Mr. Thompson sustained personal injuries. He was in a dazed condition and was taken for emergency treatment to the office of Dr. Frank A. Mood in Nocona, Tex. On July 2, 1942, Dr. Mood made the following statement concerning the injuries sustained by Mr. Thompson:

Examination showed heart and lungs normal though circulatory system suffering some from traumatic shock. Ragged bleeding wound of scalp in right parietooccipital region; wound was dirty and its edges badly bruised; shape of wound was that of a rough cross about 2 inches for each cross piece. This wound was cleansed and closed with skin clips. There was a bruise and abrasions of the right forehead and of the left knee. There was a traverse fracture of the right clavicle in its middle with bad displacement of the fragments. A web clavicle harness was applied and the patient put to bed to observe the severity of the head injury. He was seen today and his mental faculties were normal; there seemed no likelihood of serious injury to the skull contents.

On July 4, 1942, Mr. Thompson was taken to the Gainesville Sanitarium in Gainesville, Tex., where he was placed under the care of Dr. C. B. Thayer. On December 15, 1942, Dr. Thayer made the following statement:

X-ray pictures showed fracture of right clavicle. He also had a scalp injury which had been taken care of by Dr. Mood and a scratch on leg below knee. He was complaining of pain in knee in region of knee cap but there were no objective symptoms of any injury of knee.

İ put his clavicle fracture up in the usual shoulder strap. He remained in the hospital until the 10th of July.

On May 28, 1943, Lee L. Boyd, assistant to Dr. Frank A. Mood, of Emergency Hospital, Nocona, Tex., made the following statement:

As an assistant to Dr. Frank A. Mood, Nocona, Tex., I make this statement: Mr. Paul Thompson came to the office on July 1, 1942, at about 6 p. m. with & broken collarbone and severe scalp wounds; one just above and slightly behind right ear, and the other over left eye in edge of hair. Mr. Thompson was given treatment by Dr. Frank A. Mood on July 1, 2, 3, 1942, and was then sent to a Gainesville hospital, where he was treated by Dr. Thayer.

Mr. Thompson was examined by officers of the Medical Corps at the Station Hospital, Camp Howze, Tex. On January 27, 1944, Capt. Charles H. Heidelberg, Medical Corps, made the statement:

Although this man was undoubtedly neurotic before the injury his condition was aggravated by it. With reassurance and confidence in the examination that he has received, he is improving. Diagnosis: Psychoneurosis, post-traumatic with hypochondriasis and invalid reaction.

Mr. Thompson was 53 years of age at the time of the accident. His wife, Mrs. Thoe Lindsey Thompson, is his only dependent.

As the evidence establishes that the accident and resulting property damage and personal injuries sustained by Mr. Thompson were not caused by any fault or negligence on his part, but were caused solely by the negligence of the Government driver in attempting to pass another vehicle when under the conditions then existing he could not execute such movement in safety, it is the opinion of your committee that Mr. Thompson should be compensated for the damages

sustained by him. In view of the permanent injuries sustained by Mr. Thompson your committee feels that an award of $2,750 would be reasonable. This sum would cover medical expenses, damage to his tractor, and damage to crops resulting from loss of use of tractor, and personal injuries.

Therefore, your committee recommends favorable consideration to the proposed legislation. Appended hereto is the report of the War Department, together with other pertinent information.

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WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, D. C., June 12, 1944. Hon. Dan R. McGEHEE, Chairman, Committee on Claims,

House of Representatives. DEAR MR. McGEHEE: The War Department is opposed to the cnactment of H. R. 2980, Seventy-eighth Congress, in its present form. This bill would authorize and direct the Secretary of the Treasury to pay “the sum of $2,750 to Paul T. Thompson, St. Jo, Tex., for personal injuries and medical and hospital expenses incident to and sustained as a result of a collision between the farm tractor on which he was riding and a United States Army automobile on Highway No. 82 near Nocona, Tex., on July 1, 1942." The Department, however, would not oppose the enactment of the bill 'if it should be so amended as to provide for an award to Mr. Thompson of $1,000.

On July 1, 1942, at about 6 p. m., a Government sedan assigned to the United States Engineer Office, Denison, Tex., and operated by a civilian employee of the War Department on official business, was proceeding west on Highway No. 82 between St. Jo and Nocona, Tex., at an undetermined rate of speed. At the same time a Farmall tractor, owned and operated by Paul T. Thompson, route No. 1, St. Jo, Tex., was proceeding in the same direction on his proper side of the same highway at a slow rate of speed. At a point about 9 miles east of Nocona, the Government driver overtook Mr. Thompson's tractor and moved to his left of the center of the road for the purpose of passing the slower-moving vehicle. As the Government driver attempted to execute this movement his vision was partially impaired by the setting sun which was directly in his eyes, and he failed to observe an unidentified civilian vehicle which was approaching from the opposite direction until it was too late for him to return to his proper traffic lane. When he saw the oncoming vehicle, however, he swerved to his right to avoid colliding with it and crashed into the left rear of the tractor, throwing its driver from his seat to the ground on the shoulder of the road. As a result of the accident the tractor was damaged beyond economical repair and Mr. Thompson was injured.

After the accident Mr. Thompson was in a dazed condition and was taken for emergency treatment to the office of Dr. Frank A. Mood in Nocona, Tex. On July 2, 1942, Dr. Mood made the following statement concerning the injuries sustained by Mr. Thompson:

"Examination •showed heart and lungs normal though circulatory system suffering some from traumatic shock... Ragged bleeding wound of scalp in right parieto-occipital region; wound was dirty and its edges badly bruised; shape of wound was that of a rough cross about 2 inches for each cross piece. This wound was cleansed and closed with skin clips. There was a bruise and abrasions of the right forehead and of the left knee. There was a transverse fracture of the right clavicle in its middle, with bad displacement of the fragments. A web clavicle harness was applied and the patient put to bed to observe the severity of the head injury. He was seen today and his mental faculties were normal; there seemed no likelihood of serious injury to the skull contents."

On July 2, 1942, Mr. Thompson returned to his home and, on July 4, 1942, he was taken to the Gainesville Sanitarium in Gainesville, Tex., where he was placed under the care of Dr. C. B. Thayer. On December 15, 1942, Dr. Thayer made the following statement:

“X-ray pictures showed fracture of right clavicle. He (Mr. Thompson) also had a scalp injury which had been taken care of by Dr. Mood and a scratch on leg below knee. He was complaining of pain in knee in region of kneecap but there were no objective symptoms of any injury of knee.

P: m.

"I put his clavicle fracture up in the usual shoulder strap. He remained in the hospital until the 10th of July. His temperature was never above 99 during his stay in the hospital and that was on the day that he was admitted which was 2:30

He never had any temperature after that time. He was up and around his room practically every day while at hospital. He said that he felt better up than when in bed. He left the hospital on July 10, 1942, and returned back to my office some 2 or 3 weeks later. I removed the clavicle strap at that time. He said that he was feeling fairly well and shoulder was in good condition except slight deformity at the site of clavicle break.”

Mr. Thompson was examined by Maj. S. B. Thompson, Medical Corps, on November 27, 1943, who submitted the following report of his examination:

"November 27, 1943: Patient was injured July 1, 1942, when he was struck by a vehicle while driving a tractor. States that he was unconscious for a period of time and has only a vague memory of events subsequent to the accident, for ? weeks. The injury involved right side of the head, right collarbone, hips and both knees. He was told that the right collarbone was fractured and that several ribs were fractured. Some type of symptomatic treatment was administered for left knee, right collarbone, and right chest. Since that time, patient has had a feel of weight on the right side of his head, recurrent pain in the right shoulder on motion, and mild pain in both knees on heavy activity. In his work as a rancher, he has had dizzy spells on hot days and pain in the right shoulder on activities such as pumping water, roping, and similar exertions. Both knees become painful after being on them for several hours, but this has not been incapacitating.

“Èxamination-right shoulder: There is moderate, visible and palpable deform. ity in the midportion of the right clavicle, but no abnormal motion is present and no tenderness is elicited in this area. Muscles in the hands and forearms could be used without pain and normal strength is present. Abduction of the right arm against resistance produces pain over the postero-superior aspect of the shoulder

. Bringing the right arm above shoulder level produces pain in the posterior axillary line and along the lateral border of the scapula. Adduction of the arm against resistance produces pain in the same region and slight pain in the anterior axillary line.

“There is considerable tenderness and muscle spasm along the inferior and lateral aspects of the scapula and this is the region of which greatest pain is complained of on the above described motion.

"Thorax: There is no palpable or visible deformity in the thoracic cage and no pain on breathing or motion is complained of.

“Knees: Full motion is present. Full extension produces pain in popliteal space, bilaterally. Flexion is full and painless. The collateral ligaments present no relaxation. There is approximately 1 centimeter range of gliding motion of the tibia on the femur, anteriorly with the knee flexed at 90°. This is present equally on both sides and is painless. No definite tenderness is elicited and there is no effusion.

"X-ray: Refer to official X-ray reports.

"Imp.: Myositis, posttraumatic, probably in teres major, teres minor, or serratus anterior muscles, right.

“It is my opinion that this condition could be improved considerably with physiotherapy and other local measures over a period of time and does not represent a permanent disability. This amount of residual deformity of the right clavicle is usually not incompatible with full return of function. I am unable to make a positive diagnosis of a posttraumatic condition in the knees on the present examination, but I am inclined to think that they too could be improved with symptomatic treatment.

“Would suggest other than orthopedic consultation as regards head injury."

Mr. Thompson was examined by officers of the Medical Corps at the Station Hospital, Camp Howze, Tex., and the following report was submitted on January 27, 1944, by Capt. Charles H. Heidelberg, Medical Corps:

"Head X-ray negative. Fundus examination negative. Patient states that he has been improved since his first examination. Feels that the assurance that he did not need an operation for his head has been of great help to him. Neurologic examination at this time is again negative. Blood pressure, 120/78. Summary: Although this man was undoubtedly neurotic before the injury his condition was aggravated by it. With reassurance and confidence in the examination that he has received, he is improving. Diagnosis: Psychoneurosis, posttraumatic with hypochondriasis and invalid reaction."

The tractor which was demolished in the accident was purchased by Mr. Thompson second-hand several years before the accident from the Nocona İmplement Co., Nocona, Tex. Estimates of its value at the time of the accident from disinterested parties which were secured by the investigating officer ranged from $200 to $500. According to a statement of Mr. Thompson, he had been offered the sum of $325 for his tractor shortly before the accident and he had been willing to accept that amount, but the sale was not consummated because the prospective purchaser was unable to secure the necessary cash. The value of the tractor at the time of the accident may, therefore, be fairly estimated at $325. As the salvage value of the wreckage was estimated at $200, a fair estimate of the total property loss sustained by Mr. Thompson as a result of the damage to his tractor is $125.

W. F. Nelson, land appraiser for the division real-estate suboffice, United States engineers, Denison, Tex., appraised the damage to Mr. Thompson's crops resulting from the loss of the use of the tractor at $155.

The records of the War Department show that as a result of his injuries Mr. Thompson incurred medical and hospital expenses in the aggregate amount of $71.50, as follows: Gainesville Sanitarium, Gainesville, Tex...

$34. 50 Dr. C. B. Thayer, Gainesville, Tex...

15. 00 Dr. Frank A. Mood, Nocona, Tex..

22. 00 Total.--.

71. 50 On November 16, 1942, Paul T. Thompson filed a claim with the War Department in the amount of $3,279.50 ($1,500 for personal injuries; $1,080 for loss of crops; $71.50 for medical and hospital expenses; $600 for damage to the tractor; and $28 for interest on the money). In view of the fact that Mr. Thompson is unwilling to accept any amount in full satisfaction and final settlement of his claim which, under existing law, may be settled administratively, no action has been taken on his claim.

Mr. Thompson was 53 years of age at the time of the accident. His wife, Mrs. Theo Lindsey Thompson, is his only dependent. No evidence has been furnished showing any loss in income which may have resulted from the personal injuries sustained by him in this accident.

The evidence clearly establishes that the accident and the resulting property damage and personal injuries sustained by Mr. Thompson were not caused by any fault or negligence on his part, but were caused solely by the negligence of the Government driver in attempting to pass another vehicle when under the conditions then existing he could not execute such movement in safety. It is, therefore, the view of the War Department that Mr. "Thompson should be reasonably compensated for the property damage and personal injuries sustained by him. In view of the fact that Mr. Thompson does not appear to have sustained any injuries which will result in permanent disability, it is believed that the amount of the proposed award, $2,750, is excessive. The Department, however, would not oppose the enactment of the bill if it should be so amended as to provide for an award to Mr. Thompson in the amount of $1,000 ($71.50 for medical and hospital expenses, $125 for damage to his tractor, $155 for damage to crops resulting from loss of use of tractor, and $648.50 for personal injuries), which, it is believed, would constitute a fair and reasonable settlement of his claim. It is recommended that the words “property damage," be inserted before the words “personal injuries” on line 6, page 1, of the bill.

The fiscal effect of the bill is manifest. The Bureau of the Budget advises that there is no objection to the submission of this report. Sincerely yours,

HENRY L. STIMSON,

Secretary of War.

Nocona, Tex., May 29, 1948. Mr. Ed GOSSETT, M. C.,

Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: I have this day examined Paul T. Thompson, of Bonita, Tex., who was run over by a Government car, No. W-1353, on July 1, 1942. He sustained a head injury, lacerating the scalp above the right ear and slightly to the back about 2 inches in length. Another scalp injury above the left eye about the line of the hair extending near 1 inch in length. Also he sustained a fracture of the right clavicle and a severe bruise at the head of the right tibia. He still complains of pain in his head which becomes almost unbearable after a short period of

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