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BOYD B. BLACK
FEBRUARY 27, 1945.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and
ordered to be printed
Mr. Case, from the Committee on Claims, submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 2006)
The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 2006) for the relief of Boyd B. Black, 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, strike out the figures "$20,000" insert in lieu thereof the figures "$7,146.40”.
Strike out lines 7 and 8 and insert in lieu thereofthe United States for personal injuries, medical, hospital, and other expenses incurred as a result of being struck by á United States Army truck on May 24, 1943 at Jasper, Texas: Provided, That no part of the amount appropriated in this Act in excess of 10 per centum thereof shall be paid or delivered to or received by any agent or attorney on account of services rendered in connection with this claim, and the same shall be unlawful, any contract to the contrary notwithstanding. Any person violating the provisions of this Act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined in any sum not exceeding $1,000.
The purpose of the proposed legislation is to pay the sum of $7,146.40 to Boyd B. Black, of Jasper, Tex., for personal injuries, medical, hospital, and other expenses actually incurred as a result of being struck by a United States Army truck on May 24, 1943, at Jasper, Tex.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
It appears that on May 24, 1943, an Army truck operated by an enlisted man on official business was traveling on West Lamar Street, Jasper, Tex., at an undetermined rate of speed. It was dark and a light rain was falling and visibility was not so good. At the same time a truck owned by the Black Lumber Co., of Jasper, was parked diagonally at a 30° angle at the south curb of West Lamar Street at a point in front of a furniture store. Mr. Black was standing on the sidewalk near the front of the parked car. The vision of the Army driver was apparently obstructed by rain on his windshield, and he failed to see the civilian truck parked at the curb. The Army truck struck the parked truck and knocked it over a 7-inch curb and 9 feet across the sidewalk. Mr. Black was, in turn, struck and pinned
, against the wall of the building. As a result of the accident Mr.
: Black sustained serious personal injuries.
Immediately after the accident he was taken to the Hardy Hancock Hospital for emergency treatment. The next day he was moved to the Turner Urological Institute, Houston, Tex. Two days later he was again moved to the Memorial Hospital, Houston, where he remained until June 12, 1943. On September 2 he was readmitted to the Memorial Hospital for the removal of the cast.
Statement from Dr. H. W. Hardy, of Jasper, was made as late as December 30, 1944, to the effect that Mr. Black has not fully recovered from these injuries. He states that his condition has not improved much since the accident, and that he has weakness in lower back and legs; that he tires with normal exercise and unable to pass urine at intervals; that he is unable to have a normal erection as before injury. The doctor further states that it is necessary to use sounds at intervals to enable him to pass his urine. Dr. Hardy states in letter of December 30, 1944, as follows:
I have occasion to see him at intervals of 2 or 3 weeks and he has improved about as much as expected, and, as formerly stated, I consider him 25 to 35 percent permanently disabled, without hope of further improvement
Mr. Black states that he did manual labor and since this accident he is unable to do such work. He is not capable of doing clerical work and must depend upon manual labor for his living. Dr. A. J. Richardson, of Jasper, states that it is his opinion, and this statement was made as of January 30, 1945, that Mr. Black was permanently disabled and that he would never be able to do manual labor.
The War Department recommends the sum of $6,000 be paid Mr. Black ($1,155.95 for medical, hospital, and incidental expenses actually incurred; $65.47 for necessary expenses of Mrs. Black as attendant; $925 for loss in earnings; and $3,853.58 for personal injuries).
Your committee agree with the recommendation of the War Department with the exception of the amount for personal injuries, which is $3,853.58. Its report dated October 19, 1944, certainly indicates that Mr. Black has suffered serious injuries and your committee are of the opinion that he should receive as compensation for these injuries, pain, and suffering the amount of $5,000, together with the other expenses recommended by the War Department.
Therefore your committee recommend favorable consideration to the bill in the amount of $7,146.40. Appended hereto is report of the War Department, together with other pertinent evidence.
Washington, October 19, 1944. Hon. Dan R. McGEHEE, Chairman, Committee on Claims,
House of Representatives. DEAR MR. McGEHEE. The War Department is opposed to the enactment of H. R. 4720, Seventy-eighth Congress, a bill for the relief of Boyd B. Black in its present form.
This bill would authorize and direct the Secretary of the Treasury to pay to Boyd B. Black the sum of $20,000 in full settlement of all claims against the Government for injuries sustained by him when struck by an Army truck on May 24, 1943, at Jasper, Tex.
The Department would not, however, oppose the enactment of the bill if it should be so amended as to provide for an award of $6,000 to Mr. Black.
On May 24, 1943, at about 9:30 p. m., an Army 272-ton truck, operated by an enlisted man on official business, was proceeding east on West Lamar Street in Jasper, Tex., at an undetermined rate of speed. It was dark, a light rain was falling, and visibility was poor. At the same time a 1938 Dodge truck, owned by the Black Lumber Co., of Jasper, was parked diagonally at a 30° angle at the south curb of West Lamar Street at a point in front of the Howell Furniture Store Building. Boyd B. Black, 435 Hodges Street, Jasper, was standing on the sidewalk near the front of the parked truck lighting a cigarette. The vision of the Army driver was apparently obstructed by rain on his windshield and he failed to see the civilian truck parked at the curb. The Army truck struck the left rear of the parked truck and forced it over a 7-inch curb and 9 feet across the sidewalk. Mr. Black was, in turn, struck by the front of the civilian truck and pinned against the brick wall of the Howell Furniture Co. Building. As a result of the accident Mr. Black sustained serious personal injuries.
Mr. Black was taken from the scene of the accident to the Hardy Hancock Hospital in Jasper for emergency treatment. On May 25, 1943, he was moved by ambulance to the Turner Urological Institute, Houston, Tex., and on May 27, 1943, he was again moved by ambulance to the Memorial Hospital, Houston, where he remained until June 12, 1943. On September 2, 1943, Mr. Black was readmitted to the Memorial Hospital for 1 day for the removal of his cast. Dr. H. W. Hardy, of Jasper, who treated Mr. Black at the Hardy Hancock Hospital in an undated statement said:
"Mr. Boyd B. Black, of Jasper, Tex., entered the Hardy Hancock Hospital May 24, 1943 at 10 p. m. suffering injuries as a result of an accident with an Army vehicle. I was called immediately to examine Mr. Black. X-ray examination was made May 24, 1943, at 10 p. m. He was suffering fractures of the pelvic bone. He also suffered an injury or separation of the iliosacral joint. At that time, he was in a state of shock and was passing considerable blood from his urethra. He was given sedatives and put to bed. The next morning, May 25, 1943, he was moved to Houston, Tex., and referred to a bone and joint surgeon and also GU specialist of Houston.'
The clinical records of the Turner Urological Institute contains the following data concerning Mr. Black's case:
“The patient is a healthy-looking, brunet white male, quite ill in bed. "Abdomen: Tender over symphysis pubic.
“External genitalia: No. 20 Foley bag was inserted without difficulty. There was some blood washed away. On observation there was considerable ecchymosis of the perineum, in the perineo-scrotal angle and the tuber ischii. There is a pone-like area over the bulbous urethra.
“DIAGNOSIS “(1) Fracture of bony pelvis (Traumatic). “(2) Rupture of membranous urethra.”
In a letter dated February 8, 1944, Dr. Joe B. Foster, of Houston, Mr. Black's attending physician at the Memorial Hospital, stated:
"An X-ray examination made at Memorial Hospital was reported on May 28, 1943, as follows:
“Radiographic examination of pelvis, lumbar vertebrae and lumbosacral region (stereo. A-P) lower dorsal-thoracic and lumbar vertebrae and lumbosacral region (lateral).
'Radiographs of the above-described osseous structures reveal: A comminuted fracture of the left pubic ramus, one fracture being near the symphysis, and a second fracture near the base of the symphysis. There is a slight overlapping of the fragments permitting shortening or shifting of the symphysis to the left.
"'A fracture of the midportion of the ramus of the left ischium.
"A fracture of the base of the right publo ramus, with good apposition and position of the fragments.
"'A fracture of the midportion of the right ischial ramus.
" 'A linear fracture in the longitudinal plane, of the right side of the sacrum, extending from near the right articular facet of the fifth lumbar vertebra distally to emerge at a point on the lateral surface of the sacral body, 1-inch distal to the lower margin of the right sacroiliac joint. This fracture line shows some widening and permits an egglike distortion of the contour of the pelvic girdle. Both sacroiliac joints are normal in apposition and appearance.
“ "There also are fractures of the tips of the right transverse processes of the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae, with good apposition and position.
“ 'No evidence of fractures or compressions of the bodies or lamina of the luinbar vertebrae found.
“ 'There is considerable gaseous content of the colon, and slight gaseous content of the small intestines, indicating some splanchnic chock.'
"On June 4, 1943, a bilateral plaster of paris spica was applied. He remained in the hospital until June 12, 1943, when he went to his home and stayed there for some time coming back for observation as indicated. On September 2, 1943, he was readmitted to the hospital for 1 day, his cast was removed, and an X-ray examination was done which was reported as follows:
“ 'There is still considerable distortion of the left pubic and ischial rami, with the pelvis assuming an egglike contour and the symphysis shifted toward the left. Both sacroiliac joints, however, have an essentially negative appearance. There is very little evidence of callus bridging the fracture lines of the left pubic and ischiai rami and tne fractures of the right rami. The right show slightly more haziness than the left. No areas or rarefaction. The proximal ends of both femora are essentially negative.'
"He returned home without any apparatus and was given instructions to remain in bed for awhile, then obtain a wheel chair and be in it for awhile, and later obtain crutches to assist him in walking and to use them for some little time. He reported to the office on December 9, 1943, and seemed to be getting along as well as could be expected for the length of time that had transpired since his accident. The X-ray films that he brought with him showed good union to be taking place. There was some distortion of the pelvis, principally on the right side of the ascending and descending rami of the pubis, which in the male is of no great significance. I am of the opinion that this patient will continue to improve for another 6 to 12 months; but I believe that in all likelihood he will have between 25 and 35 percent permanent partial disability as applies to his body as a whole.
"Mr. Black also had an injury to the urinary tract that necessitated continuous drainage, and Dr. B. Weems Turner looked after that condition."
On February 29, 1944, Maj. Edward F. Etter, Medical Corps. chief of the urological section, station hospital, Camp Polk, La., examined Mr. Black and submitted the following report:
"In view of the history and attached reports reveal that on May 25, 1943 patient was injured in automobile accident and that he was in a civilian hospital at the time and a diagnosis of a ruptured membranous urethra was made. He secured adequate treatment and the catheter was removed from his bladder on the 16th day and he has been able to void satisfactorily, however, with slight difficulty, since that time.
"Examination today, February 29, 1944, reveals there is no external evidence of injury to the genito-urinary tract. No. 18 and 24 sounds were passed to the bladder without difficulty. No. 24 sound revealed slight obstruction in the membranous urethra.
“It is my opinion that this patient has suffered a moderate traumatic stricture of a membranous urethra; however, at this time it. is giving him no difficulty, and it is recommended that he should be dilated at intervals in order to prevent obstruction.
"It is my opinion that the patient has suffered a 25 percent permanent disebility and no disability as to ability to earn livelihood as far as his genito-urinary tract is concerned."
On the same date Mr. Black was examined by Maj. T. S. Eddleman, chief of the orthopedic service at the station hospital, Camp Polk, who made the following report:
"This is to certify that today I examined Boyd B. Black, civilian, from an orthopedic standpoint, and X-rays of lower spine and pelvis were made. On examination there was some stiffness in lower back and hips, which is expected from his injuries. The weight-bearing alinement of the pelvis is good. X-rays of lower spine show no deformities. X-rays of pelvis shows moderate deformity of the left and right public arches with evidence of previous fractures. No treatment advised. This deformity of the pelvis is permanent but is stable and
1 1 1 1 1 1 1
function should be good. In my opinion the stiffness in lower back and about the hips will gradually improve with activity. His locomotion at the present time is good. In my opinion there is a 25-percent permanent anatomical disability of the pelvis but not more than a 10-percent functional disability.”
The records of the War Department show that medical, hospital, and incidental expenses were incurred by Mr. Black as a result of his injuries in the aggregate amount of $1,155.95, as follows: Dr. H. W. Hardy, Jasper, Tex..
$43. 50 Hardy-Hancock Hospital, Jasper, Tex..
25. 00 Dr. B. Weems Turner, Houston, Tex.
53. 50 Turner Urological Institute, Houston, Tex.
36. 40 Dr. Joe B. Foster, Houston, Tex..
300. 00 Memorial Hospital, Houston, Tex.
215. 05 Miscellaneous drugs and supplies.
23. 50 Rental of hospital bed.
20. 00 Ambulance service..
199.00 Ruth Williams (nurse)
240. 00 Total.--
1, 155. 95 At the time of the accident Mr. Black was 35 years of age and was married. His wife, Mrs. Hallie P. Black, had an income greater than that of Mr. Black and apparently was not dependent upon him. They had no children. At the time he was injured Mr. Black was employed by the Black Lumber Co., of Jasper, at a salary of $25 per week. In addition, he did independent hauling work during his off hours which produced an average income of approximately $25 per month. Mr. Black was unable to work from May 24 to December 24, 1943, and he has estimated his loss in earnings at $925. On December 24, 1943, he resumed his work with the Black Lumber Co., at a salary of $30 per week, but he is still unable to do heavy work.
On February 5, 1944, Mr. Black field a claim with the War Department in the aggregate amount of $21,182.32 ($397 for medical expenses, $272.35 for hospital expenses; $23.50 for drugs; $20 for rent of hospital bed, $199 for ambulances, $240 for wages of practical nurse, $65.47 for the living expenses of Mrs. Black in Houston while she was assisting in taking care of her husband, $925 for loss in earnings, and $19,040 for permanent disability). This claim was approved by the War Department in the amount of $1,217.32 ($397 for medical expenses, $272.35 for hospital expenses, $23.50 for drugs, $20 for rental of hospital bed, $199 for ambulance hire, $240 for wages of practical nurse, and $65.47 for necessary traveling expenses of claimant's wife as attendant) for report to Congress for settlement in accordance with the provisions of the act of July 3, 1943 (57 Stat. 372; 31 U. S. C. 223b). This act authorizes the War Department to consider, ascertain, adjust, determine, settle, and pay in an amount not in excess of $500, or in time of war not in excess of $1,000, where accepted by the claimant in full satisfaction and final settlement, any claim arising on or after May 27, 1941, for personal injury caused by military personnel or civilian employees of the War Department or of the Army while acting within the scope of their employment, or otherwise incident to noncombat activities of the War Department or of the Army. The act provides, however, that the amount allowed on aecount of personal injuries shall be limited to reasonable medical and hospital expenses actually incurred. The act further provides that “the Secretary of War may report such claims as exceed $500, or in time of war $1,000, to Congress for its consideration." The act makes no provision for the settlement of a claim for pain and suffering, physical disability, or loss in earnings, and the only method by which a claim for such damage may be settled is by way of a private relief bill in Congress.
The evidence fairly establishes that the accident and resulting personal injuries sustained by Boyd B. Black were not caused by any fault or negligence on his part, but were caused solely by the negligence of the Army driver in failing to maintain a proper lookout so that he could see and avoid crashing into another vehicle lawfully parked at the curb. It is, therefore, the view of the War Department that Mr. Black should be reasonably compensated for the personal injuries sustained by him. While the amount of the proposed award, $20,000, is excessive, the Department would not oppose the enactment of the bill if it should be so amended as to provide for an award to Mr. Black in the amount of $6,000 ($1,155.95 for medical, hospital and incidental expenses actually incurred; $65.47 for necessary expenses of Mrs. Black as attendant; $925 for loss in earnings; and $3,853.58 for personal injuries), which, it is believed, would constitute a fair and reasonable settlement of his claim.