TALES OF TERRIBLE SUFFERING RECALLED
GOVERNMENT TURNS DOWN BILLS FOR MEDICAL ATTENDANCE
EXPERIENCE OF SQUAW ISLAND KEEPERS ON OVERTURNED BOAT
Washington, November 14. - Mr. Tracewell, comptroller of the treasury, has rendered a decision upon the claims of Keeper Shields and First Assistant Keeper McCauley, of the Squaw Island light station for medical attendance and surgical services.
It appears from the record that on December 14, 1900, Squaw Island light was closed for the winter and the keeper, two assistants, and the keeper's wife and niece left the island in the station sailboat for St. James, Mich.
Shortly after leaving the island the boat was capsized by a heavy squall. They all succeeded in reaching the overturned boat, and were lashed to it, except the second assistant, who refused to be lashed. About eight hours afterward the two women died from cold and exposure, and about midnight the second assistant, benumbed from cold, lost his hold on the boat and was drowned.
The following day the keeper and his first assistant were picked up and taken to the Hospital of the Holy Family. Both were terribly frozen, especially the keeper, who required long medical care.
The comptroller holds that under existing laws there is no authority for the payment by the government of hospital expenses incurred by the keeper and his assistant. The comptroller holds that the government is under no legal obligation to provide for the care of sick or disabled officers or employees.