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02/23/76 SERAFIN v. PEOPLES COMMUNITY HOSPITAL

February 23, 1976

SERAFIN
v.
PEOPLES COMMUNITY HOSPITAL AUTHORITY



Appeal from Wayne, Charles S. Farmer, J.

McGregor, P. J., and Bashara and Allen, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Negligence -- Medical Malpractice -- Wrongful Death -- Causation -- Burden of Proof.

It is axiomatic that in order for a plaintiff to prevail in a medical malpractice action for the death of the plaintiff's decedent the plaintiff must show that the defendants' negligence either caused the condition to which death was attributed or contributed in some other way to the decedent's death.

2. Trial -- Theories -- Conjecture -- Evidence -- Directed Verdict.

A plaintiff's theories become mere conjecture without some record-supported evidence, and where a theory of causation is conjecture only, a directed verdict is proper.

3. Evidence -- Conjecture -- Plausible Theories.

There is a juridical basis for a determination notwithstanding the existence of other plausible theories with or without support in the evidence if there is evidence which points to any one theory of causation indicating a logical sequence of cause and effect; where there are two or more plausible explanations as to how an event happened or what produced it and the evidence is without selective application to any one of them they remain conjecture only.

4. Negligence -- Medical Malpractice -- Pleading -- Wrongful Death -- Specificity -- Theories of Negligence -- Abuse of Discretion -- Trial Court -- Admission of Evidence.

The pleadings in a medical malpractice suit are required to be specific, dictating the exact theories of negligence to be shown, and it is not an abuse of discretion for the trial Judge to disallow questions by the plaintiff relating to theories of death which were not pleaded; the trial court has authority to control the order and admission of evidence.

5. Witnesses -- Adverse Parties -- Statutes -- Cross-Examination -- Abuse of Discretion.

A statute which allows a party to call as a witness in his behalf the opposite party and to cross-examine such witness the same as if he were called by the opposite party does not apply to a witness who is not a party at the time of trial; where the witness called by the plaintiff had been dismissed as a defendant prior to trial, the trial Judge did not abuse his discretion in refusing to allow the plaintiff to cross-examine the witness as an adverse party (MCLA 600.2161; MSA 27A.2161).

6. Evidence -- Documentary Evidence -- Impeachment -- Medical Records -- Authenticity -- Abuse of Discretion.

Documentary evidence cannot be impeached by the party requiring its production; there was no abuse of discretion where the trial court refused to permit the plaintiff to question the ...


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