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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. GAITO v. MARONEY (06/24/66)

decided: June 24, 1966.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. GAITO, APPELLANT,
v.
MARONEY



Appeals from orders of Superior Court, April T., 1965, Nos. 162 and 163, affirming orders of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1962, Nos. 2841 and 2894, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Frank Gaito v. James F. Maroney, Superintendent.

COUNSEL

Stanley J. Reisman, with him Zigmund L. Dermer, for appellant.

Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, with him Edwin J. Martin, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.

Author: Roberts

[ 422 Pa. Page 173]

This case comes before this Court for the second time. In our previous decision,*fn* we remanded the record to the Court of Oyer and Terminer of Allegheny County for a hearing on the issue of the voluntary nature of appellant's oral confession. Cf. Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368, 84 S. Ct. 1774 (1964). In accordance with our directive, the Court of Oyer and Terminer of Allegheny County held a hearing, in the presence of appellant, and inquired into the circumstances surrounding the challenged confession. At the termination of the proceedings, the court concluded that the confession was constitutionally unobjectionable and entered an order remanding appellant to the custody of the appropriate authorities. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed, one judge dissenting. Commonwealth Page 174} ex rel. Gaito v. Maroney, 206 Pa. Superior Ct. 113, 210 A.2d 907 (1965) (per curiam). We allowed appellant's petition for allocatur and brought the case before the bar of this Court. Such is the present posture of the case.

The facts are undisputed. The record reveals that at about 3:00 a.m. on February 28, 1959, appellant was discovered at the entrance to the Mercy Hospital in the City of Pittsburgh. A superficial examination disclosed a bullet wound in his abdomen and he was removed to the hospital where he was administered oxygen together with blood and intravenous fluids. The attending physicians decided that immediate surgery was necessary.

Between 4:00 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. a general anesthetic, comprised of a dose of pentothal administered intravenously and, subsequently, a gaseous mixture consisting of cyclopropane-oxygen, was administered to appellant. Surgery commenced at 5:45 a.m. At this time, appellant's condition was considered by his physicians to be critical.

During surgery, it was determined that the bullet had passed through appellant's upper abdominal wall at a point opposite the ninth costal cartilage on the left side in the epigastric region. In the course of its trajectory, the bullet had penetrated the left lobe of appellant's liver and both walls of his stomach, passing through the gastro-colic omentum. It had also severed the pedicle of the spleen, passed through the diaphragm and the left chest and was found imbedded in the subcutaneous tissue surrounding the eleventh or twelfth rib of the left side of appellant's back.

The operation comprised the closure of the perforations of appellant's liver, the anterior and posterior walls of his stomach, and the gastro-colic omentum. His spleen was removed, the damage to the left side of the diaphragm repaired, and the abdomen drained.

[ 422 Pa. Page 175]

The operation was completed at 9:00 a.m., some 3 1/2 hours after its inception. Up to this point in time, appellant had received transfusions which in volume equaled approximately 40% of his blood supply. His condition at the conclusion of surgery was listed on the hospital records as "poor".

At 9:30 a.m., an injection of demerol, a narcotic, was administered appellant as a sedative. He also received other medications, including penicillin, streptocmycin, chloromycetin, and adrenosem. In addition, he continued to receive various fluids intravenously. As a result, six tubes, inserted at various stages in the operative and post-operative procedure, emanated from appellant's ...


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