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MILAGROS ROSARIO v. HARRIS

June 30, 1980

MILAGROS ROSARIO, a/k/a MILAGROS MARRERRO HERNANDEZ, a/k/a MILAGROS HERNANDEZ ROSARIO, a/k/a MILAGROS ARZUAGA, a/k/a MILAGROS MARRERRO ARZUAGA, a/k/a MILAGROS MARRERRO, Plaintiff,
v.
PARTRICIA R. HARRIS, Secretary of Health and Human Services,1/ Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: STERN

Plaintiff Milagros Rosario brings this action pursuant to section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, as amended, Title 42 United States Code, § 405(g), to review a final determination of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (hereinafter "Secretary") denying plaintiff's application for a period of disability, Title 42 United States Code, § 416(i), and disability insurance benefits, Title 42 United States Code, § 423(a). The Court finds that this matter must be remanded because, as in too many similar cases, the Secretary failed to make factual findings regarding plaintiff's credibility.

 The record discloses the following. Plaintiff is a forty-nine year old Hispanic woman who obtained a third grade education in Puerto Rico and has no facility with the English language. She worked for years as an industrial sewing machine operator; her only other adult job was as a field worker in Puerto Rico.

 Plaintiff became ill in the late 1960's. She suffered from daily nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and constipation (Tr. 19-21). In October 1969, a superficial pyeloric ulcer and pelvic inflammatory disease were diagnosed (Tr. 21). On October 16, 1970, plaintiff underwent gallbladder and stomach surgery. (Tr. 27-28). Post-operative diagnosis was duodenal ulcer and cholelithiasis (Tr. 25). Plaintiff remained hospitalized for about 10 days and, according to her discharge records, had a chronic duodenal ulcer, cholecystitus and cholelithiasis (Tr. 28).

 Three weeks after discharge, plaintiff's symptoms returned. In May 1971, she was readmitted to the hospital where the diagnosis was cholecystectomy (gall bladder) syndrome (Tr. 29). Plaintiff returned to the hospital in 1972 and 1973 with complaints of pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. A 1972 G.I. Series revealed a deformed duodenal cap (Tr. 32).

 In 1974, plaintiff was treated at Cagua Sub-Regional Hospital in Puerto Rico for epigastric pain and vomiting (Tr. 199, 204). She was given medication and placed on a special diet. An upper G.I. Series performed in August in Connecticut confirmed the probable existence of an ulcer crater in the base of the duodenal bulb with attendant changes in the pyloric canal (Tr. 190).

 In December 1974, after plaintiff's insured status expired, Dr. Jose A. Badillo performed a consultative examination at the request of the Social Security Administration. After his examination and review of a requested G.I. Series, he concluded that plaintiff had no abnormalities of the stomach, duodenum or esophagus. He did diagnose abdominal pain, but ruled out an ulcer and post-cholecystectomy syndrome (Tr. 205-11). He also found that plaintiff had only minor functional disabilities (Tr. 212).

 The remainder of the objective medical and psychological evidence in the record indicates that from 1975 to 1977 plaintiff continued to suffer epigastric pain and vomiting (Tr. 235). *fn3" She was treated at Jersey City Medical Center (Tr. 231-62), where her condition was diagnosed as post-gastrectomy syndrome (Tr. 242).

 The record further reveals that plaintiff became anxious and depressed. In 1977, Dr. Jose M. Reyes concluded that she suffers from a moderately severe neurotic depressive reaction which affects her physically and mentally (Tr. 213-14). Social Security interviewers and individuals to whom plaintiff was referred by the Administration confirmed that in 1977 plaintiff was mentally and physically ill (Tr. 181, 222, 264). Plaintiff's treatment consisted of medication and regular individual and group therapy (Tr. 227, 267-68).

 Plaintiff's testimony at her April 1, 1977 hearing was barely coherent and the record notes that she sobbed continually. *fn4" She exhibited an inability to remember dates *fn5" or to concentrate on the testimony (Tr. 103). Plaintiff testified that since 1970 she has vomited two or three times a day and has suffered from persistent pain and diarrhea. She lost weight (Tr. 120), spends a lot of time in bed or sitting by the window, and never ventures out of her house alone (Tr. 97). Much of the time she is unable to perform housework. She attempted to work outside her home, but was unable to do so because she had to spend so much time in the bathroom. Plaintiff stated that she takes seven or eight pills a day which make her drowsy and Maalox, but that the medication does not relieve her symptoms (Tr. 108, 109-10, 122). She has become increasingly anxious and depressed because of her physical condition. She now attends therapy sessions once a week (Tr. 115-16).

 Plaintiff's testimony was supported by letters from two neighbors who confirmed her reports of persistent vomiting, weakness, inability to do housework and days spent at home in bed or sitting by the window (Tr. 185-88).

 The Administrative Law Judge held that the claimant "retained the residual physical and mental functional capacity to work as a seated sewing machine operator from July 13, 1973 through September 30, 1974" (Tr. 47), and accordingly found that plaintiff was not entitled to disability insurance benefits. However, he found that, commencing May 26, 1976, *fn6" and continuing through the period during which the hearing occurred, plaintiff was

 
suffering from a severe and disabling emotional impairment, which, in combination with her related secondary gastrointestinal manifestations, clearly reach a sufficient level of severity and duration so as to preclude any form of substantial gainful activity on a sustained basis even of a light or sedentary nature similar to her former position.

 (Tr. 46) (emphasis supplied). Thus, he concluded that plaintiff was entitled to Supplemental ...


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