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HANNA v. CELEBREZZE

September 8, 1964

OSCAR L. HANNA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANTHONY J. CELEBREZZE, SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Miller, Chief Judge.

Plaintiff seeks review of a final decision of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, denying disability benefits under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 401 et seq. This court has jurisdiction of the action pursuant to Sec. 205(g) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 405(g).

This action*fn1 was commenced by the plaintiff on November 5, 1962, after having exhausted all administrative remedies. The defendant answered on March 4, 1963, and filed a transcript of all prior administrative proceedings. On April 10, 1963, plaintiff filed a motion to remand the case to the defendant Secretary for the taking of additional evidence. The court remanded the cause to the Office of Appeals Council, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, for the purpose of taking additional evidence on April 11, 1963.

On July 13, 1964, the defendant Secretary filed an amended answer, together with a supplemental administrative transcript, and prayed the complaint be dismissed as prayed in the original answer. The plaintiff on August 6, 1964, filed a motion for summary judgment and submitted brief in support thereof. On August 13, 1964, the defendant Secretary filed a motion for summary judgment accompanied by brief in support thereof. The case is now before the court upon the cross motions for summary judgment.

The pertinent non-medical facts, as disclosed by the original and supplemental administrative transcripts, pleadings and briefs are not disputed. Plaintiff was born September 23, 1917, in Alma, Arkansas. He left school at the age of 10 while in the fourth grade and began working on a farm. At the age of 19 he married and went to work on the W.P.A. using a pick and shovel. He was next employed as an agricultural laborer picking cotton. In about 1937 he began working at the Fort Smith Chair Factory as off-bearer and ripsaw operator, and was employed there three years. In 1940 he began working at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, and was employed there about six months. He then went to California and was employed in the Richmond Shipyard as a chipping gun operator. After six months in California, he returned to agricultural labor in Lodi, California. In 1943 or 1944 he returned to Arkansas and was again employed at Camp Chaffee loading railroad cars. He next began working on the Missouri Pacific Railroad in the shops as a pipefitter's helper. In 1947 he was transferred to the car department and worked as car oiler's helper. He was last employed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad in December 1955. Since 1955 he has not been regularly employed, but engaged in odd jobs — painter, selling vegetables, raising chickens. Plaintiff thus has an occupational history consisting of work activities including manual labor, ripsaw and sander operator, chipper in shipyard, railroad worker, truck driver, painter and agricultural labor.

The plaintiff alleges several impairments which he contends entitle him to disability benefits under the Act, including ulcers, nervousness and psychoneurotic disorder. The medical evidence contained in the record, of course, requires full and complete consideration.

In support of the plaintiff's contention that his various impairments preclude his engaging in substantial gainful activity the record reflects that he has been examined by seven physicians, including four psychiatrists, and has been hospitalized at various times in the Missouri Pacific Employees Hospital, Little Rock, Arkansas; St. Edwards Mercy Hospital, Fort Smith, Arkansas; Crawford County Memorial Hospital, Van Buren, Arkansas; University of Arkansas Medical Center, Little Rock, Arkansas; Arkansas State Hospital (mental), Little Rock, Arkansas; Sparks Memorial Hospital, Fort Smith, Arkansas; and Coyne-Campbell Sanatorium, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The court in its examination to determine if the decision of the defendant Secretary is supported by substantial evidence does not deem it necessary to set out in detail the numerous hospital records, but it does seem necessary to recite the objective findings of the various examining physicians.

The plaintiff has had various examinations over an extended period of time by Dr. O.J. Kirksey, a general practitioner of Mulberry, Arkansas. Dr. Kirksey, in his medical report of December 7, 1957, to the State Social Security Disability Unit stated: (TR 76-77)

    "(b) Objective findings: X-ray spastic pylorus & duodenum
                          epigastric tenderness, recurrent lumbar
                          social pain (right)
    "4. Diagnosis: Chronic gastritis & with pylorus — duodenal
                   spasticity. Recurrent lumbar social pain
                   (right).
    "8. Remarks: This man cannot follow a gainful occupation
        because of his frequent gastric & lumbar social attacks."

In his letter of September 12, 1958, Dr. Kirksey stated: (TR 81)

  "Oscar L. Hanna, Jr., has been under my professional
  care at irregular intervals from Aug. 1947 to date.
  "His chief complaints have been abdominal distention,
  recurrent attacks of severe upper abdominal pain &
  nausea & at times diarrhea. Blood pressure & pulse do
  not vary far from normal. The antispasmodics &
  tranquilizers (such as Equinal & Compazine) give very
  little relief. Combid (SKF Co.) gave more relief than
  others, altho the effects did not last very long.
  This man has a wife and 4 children & needs to work
  but cannot hold a job because of these frequent
  attacks.

Signed: O.J. Kirksey, M.D."

The plaintiff has also been seen and treated at various times by Dr. J.A. Thicksten, a general practitioner of Alma, Arkansas. Dr. Thicksten in his medical report to the State OASI dated February 26, 1958, advised the plaintiff not to attempt to work. His report at pages 78 and 79 of the transcript states as follows:

       "(b) Objective findings: Mild tenderness of epigastric
                                area. Very nervous, tic of rt.
                                eye. X-ray taken 1-25-58 Upper GI
                                series, normal.

"4. Diagnosis: Functional gastro-intestinal disturbance.

  "8. Remarks: It is believed that this man needs psychiatric
               help."

In his letter of August 28, 1958, Dr. Thicksten stated: (TR 81)

    "Mr. O.J. Hanna has been evaluated at this office
  and Crawford County Hospital with complaints of
  abdominal pains, nervousness, insomnia, and malaise.
    "Physical examination revealed epigastric
  tenderness, tic of right eye, nervousness, defective
  vision, post nasal exudate, deformity of nose and
  mild case of athletes foot.
    "Upper G.I. series were made on 6-10-58 revealed
  the following: Spasticity of digestive tract, but no
  ulcer or tumor.
    "It is believed that psychosmatic manifestation is
  the major defect; gastritis, and duodenitis. This
  present condition is of long duration; statis, and
  possibly progressive.
    "This patient's condition is such that he is not
  able to perform any gainful work."

On January 14, 1958, in a letter Dr. Thicksten again stated that in his opinion the plaintiff could not work. On July 8, 1959, in a medical report to the State OASI, Dr. Thicksten stated: (TR 100-101)

       "(b) Objective findings: Mild tenderness of epigastric
                                area. Very nervous, tic of rt.
                                eye. X-ray taken 1-25-28.
                                Upper GI series, normal.

"4. Diagnosis: Functional gastro-intestinal ...


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