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Aumand v. Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center

United States District Court, District of New Hampshire
61 F. Supp.2d 78 (2009)


Facts

Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (defendant) readmitted Katherine Coffey two days after bypass surgery. Detecting low blood sugar, personnel administered glucose D-50 through a catheter in her hand. When someone noticed that Katherine’s hand had swollen and turned blue, personnel moved the catheter to her elbow. Katherine’s son James approached a man in a nearby corridor by the nurse’s station, asking if he had seen or touched Katherine’s hand. James said the man stated that “it was an injection of D-50 into the tissue of her hand. Someone had made a mistake. He had never seen anything like it.” Katherine eventually had fingers amputated because of glucose infiltration and developed a MRSA infection that caused a fatal heart attack. Her husband, Francis Coffey, and the executor of her estate, Deborah Aumand (plaintiffs), sued the hospital for negligent medical care. The man James spoke to in the hospital corridor could not be identified or called as a witness. James did not remember anything about him except his height and had simply assumed he was a nurse or a physician’s assistant because of where he met him. The hospital filed a pretrial motion to exclude the man’s statements as hearsay. Coffey argued the statements were admissible as admissions by a party-opponent.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Laplante, J.)

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