exertion before she could work in competitive industry five days a week, eight hours a day." Id. 254. The ALJ, paraphrased this statement in his written decision and then commented blandly: "Since I do not believe that the claimant so suffers, my opinion (of her ability to perform sedentary work) is not changed." Id. 106.
The ALJ unquestionably erred in simply dismissing an uncontradicted psychiatric diagnosis. In an appropriate case, such error might require a remand. On the present record, however, it seems clear that plaintiff's cause would not be advanced by a remand. Were I to remand her claim, the Secretary in all likelihood would modify his findings to note that plaintiff suffers from psychophysiological cardiovascular disorder, but that she is not disabled by it. This modified finding would plainly pass muster under the "substantial evidence" standard. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (1976). After all, the Secretary's Listing of Impairments specifies that a functional nonpsychotic disorder, such as psychophysiological cardiovascular disorder, will be deemed disabling only when certain symptoms and signs are present. See 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix Listing of Impairments § 12.04 (1978); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1506 (1978). Plaintiff does not seriously contend that the evidence offered here demonstrated the requisite level of severity for this particular disorder. Indeed, the information supplied by Dr. Hirsh on the supplemental questionnaire specifically negates several of the required symptoms and signs. Record at 251-52. Although on remand that modified finding by the Secretary would "trigger" the vocational expert's opinion that plaintiff needed psychotherapy before she could resume even sedentary work, plaintiff concedes in her brief that the vocational expert was not qualified to offer such an opinion on the basis of Dr. Hirsh's report. Plaintiff's Brief (Document No. 12) at 26. In short, a remand would afford plaintiff no realistic possibility of altering the Secretary's decision on her entitlement to benefits, and I am therefore reluctant to lengthen the already considerable period of time consumed in resolving plaintiff's claim.
Nor is a remand necessitated by the ALJ's puzzling comment that "(plaintiff's) heart condition is only supported by her testimony that she had to go the hospital twice because of pain." Record at 105. In making this statement, the ALJ may well have overlooked some medical evidence of a heart condition, such as a 1974 hospital discharge summary that gave primary diagnoses of coronary artery disease and allergic gastro-enteritis. Id. 171. On the other hand, the ALJ may have been focusing on plaintiff's belief that she had a Disabling heart condition. This interpretation is suggested by one of his specific findings: "Plaintiff has an unfounded apprehension of having a disabling cardio-vascular impairment." Id. 106. Thus, the statement quoted above was perhaps addressed to the lack of medical evidence of a disabling heart condition. In either event, though, plaintiff does not seriously contend that the evidence here demonstrated the existence of a "conventional" heart condition (as opposed to psychophysiological cardiovascular disorder) that was so severe as to be disabling. Plaintiff's Brief (Document No. 12) at 18-19. Rather, she argues (as noted earlier) that she is disabled by psychophysiological cardiovascular disorder, which encompasses both emotional problems and cardiovascular problems.
It follows that the ALJ's failure to carefully isolate the evidence regarding the more conventional sort of heart condition was harmless error, and that a remand would again serve little or no purpose.
In short, although the administrative decision was not free from error, I am persuaded that the Secretary's critical finding the finding that plaintiff is not under a disability is supported by substantial evidence. While a remand would allow the Secretary to correct the problems discussed earlier, it seems clear that the critical finding would remain unchanged, and that it would still be supported by substantial evidence. Under these circumstances, rather than remanding the claim for further proceedings, I shall grant the Secretary's motion for summary judgment.