Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Armstrong County in the case of In Re: Appeal of James V. Preteroti from the Order of the Secretary of Transportation suspending his motor vehicle privileges, No. 1985-0846.
James J. Panchik, for appellant.
Christopher J. Clements, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Chief Counsel, and John L. Heaton, Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 540]
James V. Preteroti appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Armstrong County dismissing his
[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 541]
appeal from an order of the Department of Transportation (DOT) which suspended his motor vehicle operator privileges for one year under section 1547 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1547.
Pursuant to a hearing, the trial judge found that, following an auto accident involving Preteroti, he was transported to a hospital where he refused to submit to a blood alcohol test and refused treatment for possible injuries.
The trial judge, relying on the arresting officer's testimony, Preteroti's own denial of any injury, and a hospital record made the day after the accident, determined that Preteroti had made a conscious and knowing refusal to submit to the withdrawal of blood for a blood alcohol test.
Although the trial judge permitted the hospital record to be admitted into evidence, he did not permit Dr. Groomes, a medical expert who had not examined Preteroti, to give his medical opinion on Preteroti's injuries. The trial judge concluded that his "refusal to admit Dr. Groomes' deposition into evidence may have been erroneous (but) the court is fully satisfied that even if it had been admitted into evidence the outcome would be the same." Preteroti now appeals the trial court's exclusion of Dr. Groomes' testimony.
The sole issue before us, one of first impression, is whether a medical expert's opinion is admissible if based upon a hospital record which has been admitted into evidence but which was authored by another doctor who is not available to testify.
The Superior Court addressed a similar issue in the case of Commonwealth v. Trill, 374 Pa. Superior Ct. 549, 543 A.2d 1106 (1988). In Trill, the court admitted portions of a psychiatric patient's discharge summary into ...