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From the US District Court-Texas
Submitted by Art Kettelhut
Judge Jerry Buchmeyer of the US District Court for the Northern District
of Texas writes a monthly article for the Texas Bar Journal. Often, he
cites unusual exchanges between lawyers and witnesses during trials.
The following true exchange says it all:
Lawyer: "So, Doctor, you determined that a gunshot wound was the cause
of death of the patient?"
Doctor: "That's correct."
Lawyer: "Did you examine the patient when he came to the emergency
Doctor: "No, I performed the autopsy."
Lawyer: "OK, were you aware of his vital signs when he was at the
Doctor: "He came into the emergency room in shock and died a short
Lawyer: "Did you pronounce him dead at that time?"
Doctor: "No, I am the pathologist who performed the autopsy. I was
not involved with the patient initially."
Lawyer: "Well, are you even sure then, that he died in the emergency
Doctor: "That is what the records indicate."
Lawyer: "But if you weren't there, how could you have pronounced him
dead, having not seen or physically examined the patient at
Doctor: "The autopsy showed massive hemorrhaging in the chest area and
that was the cause of death."
Lawyer: "I understand that, but you were not actually present to
examine the patient and pronounce him dead, isn't that
Doctor: "No, sir, I did not see the patient or actually pronounce him
dead, but I did perform an autopsy and right now his brain is
in a jar over at the county morgue. As for the rest of the
patient, for all I know, HE COULD BE OUT PRACTICING LAW