On Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division, at G.D. 75-8924, dated April 24, 1980, granting appellees a new trial. On Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Please of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division at G.D. 79-14354, dated March 7, 1980, as amended April 3, 1980
John D. Rhodes, Pittsburgh, for appellants at No. 487 and for appellees at No. 488.
John C. Conti, Pittsburgh, for appellants at No. 703.
Kenneth W. Behrend, David M. Moran, Pittsburgh, for McNair, appellee.
Brosky, DiSalle and Shertz, JJ. This case was decided prior to the expiration of Shertz, J.'s, commission of office. DiSalle, J., did not participate in the consideration or review of this case.
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In the first of these consolidated appeals, Appellants challenge the lower court's grant of a new trial. The decision of the court en banc rested on two grounds: (1) the trial court abused its discretion in that it improperly refused Appellee's request to present rebuttal evidence, and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in that it improperly prohibited Appellee from filing a supplemental pretrial statement and from presenting certain expert medical testimony. Appellants contend the court en banc erred in granting a new trial. We disagree and therefore affirm.*fn1
In the second appeal, Appellants contend that the court below erred in denying their motion for summary judgment.*fn2 We agree and therefore reverse.
The facts of this case can be summarized as follows. Appellee brought wrongful death and survival actions alleging that medical malpractice on the part of Appellants caused the death of her husband. The decedent, who had a
[ 300 Pa. Super. Page 383]
prior history of hypertension, contracted Guillian-Barre syndrome. In April, 1974, he was admitted to Allegheny General Hospital, an Appellant herein, where he was treated by several physicians, including Appellants Weikers, Wachs, and Richter. During the course of this treatment, the decedent was given the drug Aldomet in an attempt to lower his blood pressure. Although this treatment proved successful in lowering the blood pressure, decedent contracted a high fever and died several days after entering the hospital. The cause of his death is the dispute underlying this lawsuit.
At trial, Appellee offered into evidence, without objection, those sections of the Physician's Desk Reference pertaining to Aldomet, in order to prove that the decedent had received negligent care. That is, Appellee attempted to demonstrate that, in failing to give due consideration to the procedures and precautions set forth in the aforementioned publication, Appellants negligently caused the death of her husband.
Appellants, on the other hand, undertook to prove that the decedent had received proper medical care during his hospitalization. To this end, they presented the testimony of Dr. Puschett,*fn3 a specialist in renal-electrolyte medicine, who was primarily responsible for the treatment of decedent's hypertension. Dr. Puschett testified on cross-examination, as follows, with regard to Aldomet and its proper administration:
Q Well, sir, earlier you said that you did not necessarily agree with what the manufacturer said in the Physician's Desk Reference?
A Yes. I based that on my clinical judgment and experience with the agent (Aldomet) and the work of others.
Q Well, you say you used this on patients and you found from your observations that it worked differently than the manufacturer's recommendations?
[ 300 Pa. Super. Page 384]
A Not the recommendations, what we found, for example, was that whereas the Physician's Desk Reference which, by the way, I don't think is holy in any way, whereas the Physician's Desk Reference says that the drug's onset is quite different from what I mentioned to you earlier, that those of us with a lot of clinical experience find that it works more rapidly, much more rapidly under actual clinical settings. And, we found that it might be biologically effective in a shorter period of time than the time given by the manufacturer.
N.T. at 438-39. (parenthesis added).
Q It (the Physician's Desk Reference) does not say what you said, to try to determine if the ...