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05/06/97 BRANDON ISER AND NORTHERN BANK v. COPLEY

May 6, 1997

BRANDON ISER AND NORTHERN BANK, LIMITED GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE OF BRANDON ISER, A DISABLED PERSON, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
COPLEY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, AND MANUEL SARROCA, M.D., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois. No. 90-L-1192. Honorable Edwin Grabiec, Judge, Presiding.

As Corrected June 6, 1997. Released for Publication June 30, 1997.

Present - Honorable Kent Slater, Justice, Honorable Peg Breslin, Justice, Honorable John F. Michela, Justice. Justice Michela delivered the Opinion of the court. Breslin and Slater, JJ., concurring.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michela

JUSTICE MICHELA delivered the Opinion of the court:

Brandon Iser (Brandon) and Northern Bank, filed a medical negligence action in the circuit court of Will County against Copley Memorial Hospital (CMH) and Dr. Manuel Sarroca, seeking recovery for personal injuries. Plaintiffs allege that defendants negligently rendered treatment and care to Brandon after he was involved in an auto accident. A jury returned a verdict in favor of defendants, the court denied plaintiffs' post-trial motion, and plaintiffs appeal.

On appeal, plaintiffs raise numerous issues that can be generally described as errors concerning the court's restricting direct examination of an expert; refusing cross examination of experts using certain exhibits; limiting cross examination of an expert to matters testified to on direct examination; and refusing to admit certain exhibits into evidence. Plaintiffs contend that the cumulative effect of such errors deprived Brandon of a fair trial. For the following reasons, we affirm.

Facts

Plaintiffs allege that defendants negligently failed to diagnose a spine fracture and internal carotid artery injury Brandon incurred in an auto accident. Plaintiffs contend that defendants' negligent treatment of Brandon was the proximate cause of a stroke he suffered, which left him with permanent physical injuries.

At trial, and during direct examination of plaintiffs' expert, Dr. Donald Austin, plaintiffs attempted to elicit testimony concerning the authoritative nature of four peer review medical journal articles, Exhibits 77-80 concerning internal carotid artery injuries, for the purpose of laying a foundation to impeach defendants' experts.

Defendants objected, referring to Dr. Austin's deposition testimony wherein he failed to express an opinion as to these articles, and stated that he was unaware of, and did not review for this case, any articles concerning internal carotid artery injuries. Defendants also complained that the articles had not been properly disclosed. Plaintiffs suggested that the court give the jury a cautionary instruction as to the limited, authoritative nature of Dr. Austin's testimony, however, the court sustained defendants' objection and would not allow plaintiff to question Dr. Austin further about these articles.

Thereafter, plaintiffs attempted to use Exhibits 77-80 to impeach defendants' experts. Defendants objected, plaintiffs made an offer of proof, and the court sustained defendants' objections.

During the cross examination of Dr. Sarroca's expert, Dr. Leonard Rutkowski, plaintiffs attempted to elicit his opinion concerning the operable nature of Brandon's condition, and the effect of movement of Brandon's head and neck while under defendants' care. Plaintiffs planned to impeach Dr. Rutkowski's testimony with his deposition testimony. Defendants objected, arguing that it went beyond the scope of direct examination. Plaintiffs made an offer of proof, however, the court sustained defendants' objection and limited plaintiffs' questioning to matters Dr. Rutkowski had testified to on direct examination.

Analysis

Plaintiffs contend that the court erred in not allowing Dr. Austin to testify to the authoritative ...


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