and time of continuance, must always depend on the facts of each particular case.' The Bouker No. 2, 2 Cir., 1917, 241 F. 831, 835.
The factual situation in the Farrell case was by no means similar to that in the instant case. Farrell has been discharged from a government hospital as completely disabled. He was totally and permanently blind, and suffered from post-traumatic convulsions which, at the time of trial, were without possibility of further cure. On these facts, his claim that he was entitled to maintenance for as long as he might be disabled, which in his case would be for life, was denied by the Supreme Court.
By contrast, Gibson is today far from being completely disabled. He testified that when he first went back to work in 1947 he was unable to hold a job for more than a few days. After continuing under the care of Dr. Manser for about three years he was able to work at his next job for a period of sixty days, then he was able to work for a period of ninety-three days, and as of the date of trial he had been steadily employed for over a month. Farrell v. United States, supra, could not possibly be construed as requiring denial of libellant's claim for that period during which he was being rehabilitated so that he could again attempt to earn a livelihood for himself and his wife.
In spite of the obvious distinction between the two cases, respondent urges that the decision in the Farrell case is controlling here because Gibson's treatment since May 26, 1947 has not been 'treatment of a curative nature', as that term was used in the Farrell opinion.
Respondent has made much of the fact that Dr. Manser admitted on cross examination that there has been little change in the pathology or physical condition of Gibson's heart muscle since a few months after the attack. From this it is urged that there has been no 'real' improvement in Gibson's condition since May 26, 1947, and hence that he should not recover in this action.
I cannot subscribe to respondent's contention. I find that the treatment received by Gibson since May of 1947 has been 'treatment of a curative nature', within the meaning of the Farrell case.
Gibson suffered what is known as a coronary thrombosis. One of the main arteries leading into his heart became blocked, or occluded, as a result of which the blood supply to a large area of heart muscle was shut off. Lack of blood in the heart muscle causes a rapid degeneration of tissue. This is followed by a healing process, or buildup of scare tissue, in the affected area. This latter process is known as infarction and may take up to several months, depending upon how much healthy tissue has been destroyed. Respondent points out that the infarction in Gibson's case was long since completed by May of 1947, hence the argument that there could be no 'real' improvement after that.
The argument overlooks what is perhaps the most important consideration in the treatment of heart disease. Gibson's therapy up to the present time has consisted of the use of various drugs designed to relax him and relieve him of the chest pains he has been having, and both he and Dr. Manser testified that this medication has been very effective. Medical science has been unable to determine the exact causes of heart trouble, but it seems to be generally accepted that mental strain and worry are factors. As one noted cardiologist expresses it: 'We must admit that long hours of nervous tension and mental concentration with inadequate relaxation and too few vacations, probably play a definite part. * * *'
Therefore, sedation and freedom from pain are extremely important in the treatment of a coronary condition, not only from the standpoint of the patient's comfort, but also because they relieve his mind and thus lessen the possibility of recurrent attacks.
Accordingly, it is unrealistic to say that once physiological improvement in Gibson's heart muscle ceased, further treatment was not 'of a curative nature'. Any treatment which relieved him of physical pain and the attendant mental anguish, under the circumstances was 'curative' in the true sense of the word, even though the damage to his heart may never be further repaired.
For the above reasons I find that respondent did not discharge its obligation to libellant by providing him with maintenance only up to May 26, 1947. The libellant is entitled to maintenance until March 25, 1951, the date on which he returned to work, less those periods he worked in the interim. He was employed for not less than three days in 1947, for sixty days in the summer of 1950, and for ninety-three days in the winter of 1950-51. Since he cannot receive maintenance for these periods, they will be deducted from the total number of days to which he would otherwise be entitled.
Accordingly, I find that at the stipulated rates of $ 5 per day up to June 15, 1948, and $ 6 per day thereafter, libellant is entitled to maintenance for 383 days at $ 5 and 859 days at $ 6, or a total of $ 7,069.
I state the following
Conclusions of Law
1. Respondent has not fulfilled its obligations with respect to maintenance and cure by providing libellant with maintenance for the period up to and including May 26, 1947.
2. Libellant has been receiving treatment of a curative nature since May 26, 1947.
3. Libellant is entitled to recover in this action the sum of $ 7,069, representing maintenance for those periods he was unable to work between May 26, 1947, and March 25, 1951, when he returned to work.
An order may be submitted in accordance herewith.