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MYERS v. GENIS (09/22/75)

decided: September 22, 1975.

MYERS, ET VIR
v.
GENIS, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Crawford County, Feb. T., 1972, No. 34, in case of Shirley R. Myers and Earl W. Myers, her husband v. Robert J. Genis, Executor of the Last Will and Testament of Lorna Anne Genis, deceased.

COUNSEL

Bradley R. Krosnoff, with him Pepicelli and Pepicelli, for appellant.

Paul E. Allen, for appellees.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 532]

The sole issue is the instant case is whether a deceased physician's records containing medical diagnosis are properly admitted into evidence to reflect the physician's medical opinion.

The case arose out of a routine rear-end traffic accident on August 16, 1969. As appellee was proceeding west on Route 322 in Vernon Township, Crawford County, appellant's decedent's*fn1 vehicle struck the appellee's automobile in the rear. Appellee consulted Dr. Mischenko for treatment of the injuries she sustained in the accident. Unfortunately, Dr. Mischenko died prior to trial. At trial on January 15, 1974, appellee offered the doctor's complete file in evidence to show the doctor's diagnosis of her injury. When the lower court examined the doctor's notes, it was determined that the doctor's handwriting was so

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 533]

    poor that it would be impossible for the jury to read and understand what was written. The lower court instead admitted three letters written by the doctor containing the appellee's diagnosis.*fn2 The appellant objected to the use of the letters insofar as they contained the doctor's diagnosis.*fn3 The appellant's objection was overruled and the letters read into evidence. A verdict was returned in favor of the appellee in the amount of $19,000.00. Appellant now argues that the lower court erred when it admitted the letters into evidence.

Our research has disclosed no specific authority in Pennsylvania holding that medical records containing diagnosis or opinion are admissible in evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule. The necessary implication of the case law, however, it that such records may be admitted.

In Freedman v. The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, 342 Pa. 404, 21 A.2d 81 (1941), our Supreme Court held that a physician's records are admissible as documentary evidence in the same manner, and are subject to the same restrictions, as hospital records. Hospital records are admissible as business records pursuant to the Pennsylvania Uniform Business

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 534]

Records as Evidence Act*fn4 if the following test is satisfied: (1) they were made contemporaneously with acts which they purport to relate, and (2) at the time of making, it was impossible to anticipate reasons which might subsequently arise for making a false entry in the original, and (3) the person responsible for ...


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