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Evidence Keyed to Park
Tuer v McDonald
Citation:701 A.2d 1101 (1997)
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Mr. Tuer, 63, had suffered from angina pectoris for about 16 years. In September, 1992, his cardiologist, Dr. Louis Grenzer, recommended that he undergo coronary artery bypass graft surgery and referred him to the defendants for that purpose. Both Mr. Tuer and Dr. McDonald prepared for the surgery. Shortly before the surgery was due to begin, however, Dr. McDonald was called to deal with an emergency involving another patient and that required a three hour postponement of Mr. Tuer’s operation. Dr. McDonald considered restarting the Heparin, an anti-coagulant that helps stabilize the angina, but decided not to do so. Mr. Tuer died the next day. Following his death, the defendants and the hospital changed the protocol with respect to discontinuing Heparin for patients. Plaintiff urged that she was entitled to ask about the change in protocol for impeachment purposes – to show that it is not unsafe to bring a patient into surgery with Heparin in his system. The court rejected that argument, distinguishing between the situation presented, of the doctor changing his mind about the relative safety of the protocol, and the case of the doctor not really believing at the time that it would have been unsafe to restart the Heparin.
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