ANITA E. TONG-SUMMERFORD, AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF MARVIN JEROME SUMMERFORD, DEC.
ABINGTON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL AND RADIOLOGY GROUP OF ABINGTON, P.C. AND KRISTIN L. CRISCI, M.D. APPEAL OF: ABINGTON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL ANITA E. TONG-SUMMERFORD, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF MARVIN JEROME SUMMERFORD
ABINGTON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, RADIOLOGY GROUP OF ABINGTON, P.C., VALERIE BONICA, D.O. AND KRISTIN L. CRISCI, M.D. APPEAL OF: RADIOLOGY GROUP OF ABINGTON, P.C., AND KRISTIN L. CRISCI, M.D.
from the Judgment Entered September 2, 2016 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Montgomery County Civil Division at No(s):
BEFORE: PANELLA, J., OLSON, J., and STEVENS, [*] P.J.E.
these consolidated appeals, Appellants Abington Memorial
Hospital (hereinafter "AMH"); Kristin L. Crisci,
M.D. (hereinafter "Dr. Crisci"); and Radiology
Group of Abington, P.C. (hereinafter "RGA")
(hereinafter collectively, at times, "Appellants")
appeal from the judgment entered in the Court of Common Pleas
of Montgomery County on September 2, 2016, at which time the
trial court denied their respective post-trial motions,
molded the verdict of $5, 000, 000 in favor of Anita E.
Tong-Summerford, as administrator of the estate of Marvin
Jerome Summerford, deceased, (hereinafter
"Appellee") to add delay damages in the amount of
$947, 157.53, and ordered the delay damages to be apportioned
between the Wrongful Death Act and Survival Act claims in the
same proportionate allocation as in the verdict: 30% ($284,
147.26) to the Wrongful Death Act claim and 70% ($663,
010.27) to the Survival Act claim. Upon our review, we
trial court set forth the facts and procedural history herein
On November 30, 2008, Marvin Summerford, age 88, was
transferred to the emergency department of Abington Memorial
Hospital (hereinafter, "AMH" or the
"Hospital") from a long-term care facility. Mr.
Summerford's past medical history included dementia,
hypertension, congestive heart failure, and pulmonary
insufficiency. On December 1, 2008, Mr. Summerford suffered
cardiac arrest secondary to pneumonia, and a code was called
due to pulseless electrical activity, decreased heart rate,
and low blood pressure. Mr. Summerford survived and was
transferred to the ICU.
On December 2, 2008, a feeding tube was inserted and an order
was placed for an x-ray to confirm proper
placement.1 The x-ray revealed that the tube had
been inadvertently inserted into the lung and was therefore
removed. The feeding tube was reinserted, and another x-ray
was ordered to confirm proper placement. Again, the feeding
tube was not properly placed.
On the next day, December 3, 2008, Valerie Bonica, D.O., an
AMH resident, inserted a new feeding tube into Mr.
Summerford. Dr. Bonica ordered a portable chest x-ray to
confirm proper placement of the tube at 3:55 p.m. In response
to this order, x-ray technologist Jillian Nickel, an AMH
employee, performed a portable x-ray at 4:53 p.m. capturing
the lower chest and abdomen.2 This image was
interpreted by Kristin Crisci, M.D., a radiologist, who
incorrectly read the study as showing termination of the
feeding tube in decedent's stomach when, in fact, it
terminated in Mr. Summerford's left lung. Dr. Crisci
signed her report at 5:33 p.m. She did not order additional
imaging. In reliance upon Dr. Crisci's report, Dr. Bonica
ordered administration of a feeding solution (Jevity) at 10
cc's per hour for the first eight hours. The first feed
was administered at approximately 11:00 p.m. on December 3,
2008. From 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. the next morning, 50
cc's of Jevity and 420 cc's of flush was administered
through the feeding tube into Mr. Summerford's lung.
Mr. Summerford's condition deteriorated. At 4:38 a.m. on
December 4, 2008, Dr. Bonica placed a STAT order for portable
chest x-ray to aid in the diagnosis/treatment of pneumonia.
The x-ray was completed at 4:46 a.m. but was not analyzed by
a radiologist until 8:13 a.m., at which time the radiologist
recognized the feeding tube was positioned in Mr.
Summerford's left lung. By this time, Mr. Summerford had
already been pronounced dead at 7:11 a.m. on December 4,
After a five-day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict on
May 13, 2016 in favor of [Appellee] and against [Appellants]
AMH and Dr. Crisci/Radiology Group of Abington, P.C.
(hereinafter, "Dr. Crisci")3 in the
total sum of $5, 000, 000 ($1.5 million for the wrongful
death claim and $3.5 million for the survival action claim).
The jury apportioned liability as follows: AMH 25% and Dr.
Crisci 75%. The verdict was molded to add Rule 238 delay
damages for [Appellee] and against [Appellants], resulting in
a molded verdict in the amount of $5, 947,
AMH and Dr. Crisci each filed timely motions for post-trial
relief seeking judgment n.o.v., a new trial, and
remittitur. Following oral argument, on September 2, 2016
this court denied [Appellants'] post-trial motions,
molded the verdict, and entered judgment on the jury verdict
in favor of [Appellee] and against [Appellants]. Thereafter,
AMH and Dr. Crisci filed timely appeals, 5 which
were consolidated on November 7, 2016 by Order of the
Superior Court. On October 4, 2016, the court ordered
defendants to file a concise statement of errors pursuant to
Pa. R.A.P. 1925(b).
1 The feeding tube is supposed to be inserted into
the esophagus and end up in the stomach. However, due to the
close proximity of the esophagus and trachea in the back of
the throat and the difficulty visualizing the proper
placement of the feeding tube for insertion, occasionally the
feeding tube is inadvertently placed in the trachea instead
of the esophagus. Accordingly, it is necessary that an x-ray
be obtained to confirm proper placement of the tube into the
stomach, as opposed to the lung, before feeding solution is
administered through the tube. All parties agreed that it was
not negligence for a feeding tube to be inadvertently
inserted into the trachea instead of the esophagus. N.T.
05.09.16 (a.m.), p. 19.
2 There was disagreement whether the image
captured by the portable x-ray was an abdominal study or a
lower chest study. Dr. Crisci testified that notwithstanding
Dr. Bonica's order for a chest x-ray, the technologist
performed an abdominal study. N.T. 05.10.16 (p.m.), p. 93.
[Appellee's] expert Dr. Igidbashian testified that it was
an abdominal study. N.T. 05.10.16 (a.m.), p. 95. However,
AMH's expert, Dr. Hani Abujudeh, testified that, "
... this was not a chest x-ray. It was not an abdominal
x-ray. It was a hybrid x-ray, between a chest and an
abdomen." N.T. 05.11.16 (p.m.), p. 144.
3 It was stipulated that Dr. Crisci was an
employee/agent of Radiology Group of Abington, P.C.
("RGA"). By agreement of all parties, Dr. Crisci
and RGA appeared together on the verdict sheet. N.T. 05.12.16
(p.m.), p. 89-91.
4 [Appellants] do not raise any issue on appeal
regarding the addition of delay damages.
5 AMH appeal Docket Number 3114 EDA 2016; Dr.
Crisci appeal Docket Number 3310 EDA 2016.
Court Opinion, filed 12/29/16, at 1-3.
October 18, 2016, Dr. Crisci and RGA filed a timely Concise
Statement of Errors Complained of on Appeal wherein they
raised ten (10) issues. On October 25, 2016, AMH filed its
Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal wherein it also
set fourth ten (10) issues.
their brief, Dr. Crisci and RGA raise the following Statement
of Questions Presented:
A. Should the trial court have entered a judgment
notwithstanding the verdict in favor of [Dr.] Crisci because
[Appellee] failed to prove, by competent and sufficient
evidence, her prima facie case of negligence against her?
B. Whether the trial court erred in denying Appellants'
Motion for a Non-Suit?
C. Whether the trial court erred in denying a new trial on
the basis of highly inflammatory and unfairly prejudicial
statements made by Co-[Appellants'] radiology expert,
Hani Abujudeh, M.D.?
D. Whether the trial court abused its discretion and/or made
an error of law in permitting [co-Appellants'] radiology
expert, Hani Abujudeh, M.D., to testify to issues relating to
the standard of care of Dr. Crisci, beyond the opinions
testified to by [Appellee's] expert, which resulted in
prejudice to Dr. Crisci?
E. Whether the trial court committed an abuse of discretion
and/or an error of law in only granting in part the Motion in
Limine filed by Crisci to preclude [Appellee's] expert,
Vartan Igidbashian, D.O., from testifying to causation issues
outside his expertise?
F. Whether the trial court committed an abuse of discretion
and/or an error of law in denying a new trial because of
improper statements made by [Appellee's] counsel?
G. Whether the trial court committed an abuse of discretion
and/or an error of law in denying Appellants' Motion for
Post-trial relief on the basis that statements made by
[Appellee's] counsel, in disregard of the [c]ourt's
ruling on subsequent remedial measures, were highly and
unfairly prejudicial to [Appellants]?
H. Whether the trial court committed an abuse of discretion
and/or an error of law in denying Appellants' Motion for
Remittitur because [Appellee] failed to introduce sufficient
evidence to support the Jury's unreasonable award of
I. Whether the trial court abused its discretion and/or made
an error of law in denying Appellants' Motion for a New
Trial on damages since the verdict was against the weight of
of Appellants at 1-2.
brief, AMH sets forth the following Statement of the
1. Whether this Court should grant a new trial on the basis
that the trial court allowed [Appellee] to vigorously
cross-examine a defense expert using industry guidelines, but
where there was no foundation for the guidelines'
applicability to the medical treatment at issue, and where
this Court and the Supreme Court have repeatedly rejected the
trial court's rationale that the Defendant should be made
to rebut the improperly admitted evidence with
2. Whether this Court should grant a new trial on the basis
that the trial court allowed [Appellee] to introduce an
adverse event notification letter, required by the Medical
Care and Reduction of Error Act, in violation of the
statute's express prohibition on using such letters as
admissions of liability, where the letter introduced during
testimony that it was an acknowledgement of the
"truth" after several hours of lies.
3. Whether this Court should grant a new trial on the basis
that the trial court allowed [Appellee's] expert to
substantiate an opinion with analysis that is not within the
fair scope of his report, thus lending credibility to his
opinion that may have affected the verdict.
4. Whether this Court should vacate the judgment and grant a
j.n.o.v., or else remand for a new trial, because
the evidence failed to establish the elements of causation
and notice, or else the verdict was against the clear weight
of the evidence on these points.
5.Whether this Court should remand for a new trial or else
vacate the judgment and grant a j.n.o.v., because
the verdict concerning the taking of the x-rays by the
technologist was against the weight of the evidence, or else
was unsupported by necessary, competent, and qualified expert
6.Whether this Court should, in this rare case, grant a new
trial on damages or a remittitur, because the gross verdict
amount shocks the conscience, and the factors analyzed for
such an argument preponderate heavily in favor of reducing
of AMH at 5-6.
ease of discussion, we first will consider the claims raised
by Dr. Crisci and RGA and thereafter discuss those asserted
by AMH. Where issues within each discussion are related, we
will analyze them together.
Dr. Crisci and RGA assert the trial court erred in failing to
grant their motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict
(JNOV) due to Appellee's failure to present competent
evidence to support her negligence claim. Dr. Crisci and RGA
also claim they are entitled to JNOV due to the trial
court's failure to grant their motion for a partial
nonsuit on the issue of whether Dr. Crisci breached the
standard of care in her interpretation of the
thoracoabdominal x-ray of December 3, 2008. In doing so, they
stress that while Dr. Igidbashian testified Dr. Crisci had
breached the necessary standard of care when she did not
order an additional study of the victim's chest upon
realizing an abdominal study had been done, he did not
testify that there had been a breach in the standard of care
with regard to Dr. Crisci's interpretation of the actual
study performed. Brief of Dr. Crisci and RGA at 13-14. Dr.
Crisci and AMA reason that:
[i]f Dr. Crisci read the study within the standard of care,
the issue of whether another study should have been ordered
was moot and should never have been considered by the jury.
Without any testimony regarding a breach of the standard of
care in the interpretation of the x-ray by Dr. Crisci,
[Appellee] failed to satisfy her burden of proving a prima
facie case of negligence and therefore, JNOV must be entered
in Crisci's favor.
It was imperative to the defense for the trial court
to have granted Dr. Crisci's partial motion for non-suit
so that the jury would not consider the issue of whether Dr.
Crisci breached the standard of care in interpreting the
Id. at 14-15, 20 (emphasis in original).
outset, we note that where a defendant presents evidence
following the denial of a motion for nonsuit, the correctness
of the trial court's denial is rendered a moot issue and
unappealable. See Williams v. A-Treat Bottling
Co, Inc., 551 A.2d 297, 299 (Pa.Super. 1988). Here, Dr.
Crisci and RGA raised a motion for partial nonsuit at the
close of Appellee's case which the trial court denied.
See N.T. Trial, 5/11/16, at 222-24. However, Dr.
John Kirby testified as a witness for Dr. Crisci following
the denial of the nonsuit. See N.T. Trial, 5/12/16
a.m., at 95-136; N.T. Trial 5/12/16 p.m., at 1-14.
Accordingly, the propriety of the court's order is a moot
issue, Williams, 551 A.2d at 299, and we next
consider the trial court's denial of their motion for
JNOV. In doing so, we employ a well-settled standard of
A JNOV can be entered upon two bases: (1) where the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law; and/or, (2) the
evidence was such that no two reasonable minds could disagree
that the verdict should have been rendered for the movant.
When reviewing a trial court's denial of a motion for
JNOV, we must consider all of the evidence admitted to decide
if there was sufficient competent evidence to sustain the
verdict. In so doing, we must also view this evidence in the
light most favorable to the verdict winner, giving the
victorious party the benefit of every reasonable inference
arising from the evidence and rejecting all unfavorable
testimony and inference. Concerning any questions of law, our
scope of review is plenary. Concerning questions of
credibility and weight accorded the evidence at trial, we
will not substitute our judgment for that of the finder of
fact. If any basis exists upon which the [court] could have
properly made its award, then we must affirm the trial
court's denial of the motion for JNOV. A JNOV should be
entered only in a clear case.
V-Tech Services, Inc. v. Street, 72 A.3d 270, 275
(Pa.Super. 2013) (citation omitted).
malpractice is defined broadly as the "unwarranted
departure from generally accepted standards of medical
practice resulting in injury to a patient, including all
liability-producing conduct arising from the rendition of
professional medical services." Toogood v. Owen J.
Rogal, D.D.S., P.C., 573 Pa. 245, 254, 824 A.2d 1140,
1145 (2003). "[T]o prevail in a medical malpractice
action, a plaintiff must 'establish a duty owed by the
physician to the patient, a breach of that duty by the
physician, that the breach was the proximate cause of the
harm suffered, and the damages suffered were a direct result
of the harm.'" Id. (quoting
Hightower-Warren v. Silk, 548 Pa. 459, 698 A.2d 52,
54 (1997). Thus, the basic elements of medical malpractice
and ordinary negligence are the same, although medical
malpractice has some distinguishing characteristics. See
Grossman v. Barke, 868 A.2d 561, 566 (Pa.Super. 2005).
our review of the trial testimony, we agree with Dr. Crisci
and RGA that Dr. Igidbashian did not opine Dr. Crisci had
deviated from the standard of care by misinterpreting the
x-ray she reviewed on December 3, 2008. However, it was not
her "alleged misinterpretation" of that x-ray which
was highlighted to the jury as being "a cause or a
substantial factor in bringing about Mr. Summerford's
injury and death" as Dr. Crisci and RGA opine in their
appellate brief, see Brief of Appellants at 19, but
rather her failure to seek an additional study to achieve a
proper diagnosis which was represented as constituting a
deviation from that standard of care. As such, Dr.
Crisci's analysis of an incomplete study was not
determinative in deciding Appellee's medical malpractice
claim. In this regard, the trial court reasoned as follows:
At trial, Dr. Vartan Igidbashian, [Appellee's] expert
radiologist, testified that the end/tip of the feeding tube
was supposed to terminate in Mr. Summerford's stomach and
not his lung.6 He testified that he could not determine based
on the December 3rd x-ray alone whether or not the feeding
tube was actually in Mr. Summerford's stomach:
MR. TRUNK: That's the end of the feeding tube, correct?
DR. IGIDBASHIAN: Correct.
Q. Where is that supposed to be located?
A. That's supposed to be located in the stomach.
Q. Can you tell from this image whether that is in the
stomach or not?
N.T. 05.10.16 (a.m.), p. 90-91.
Dr. Igidbashian stated that Dr. Crisci breached the standard
of care by interpreting this x-ray instead of obtaining
MR. TRUNK: And what should Dr. Crisci, the radiologist who
reviewed this film, have done when she saw that an abdominal
study was taken to check the placement of a feeding tube?
DR. IGIDBASHIAN: She should have asked for additional views
to include the chest, the major airway, so that you can make
sure that the tube is not going through those and ending up
in the lung, instead of coming through and ending up in the
Q. Did she do that?
Q. And was that a violation of the standard of care?
N.T. 05.10.16 (a.m.), pp. 92-93.
Dr. lgidbashian opined that Dr. Crisci was incorrect in
concluding that the December 3rd study confirmed the feeding
tube terminated in Mr. Summerford's stomach:
MR. TRUNK: And then the conclusion [of Dr. Crisci] is:
Feeding tube terminates within the stomach. Is that a
conclusion that a radiologist would be able to reach by
looking at the image, the abdominal study, that we just saw?
DR. IGIDBASHIAN: No.
Q. And was this the correct conclusion? The conclusion is
that you cannot tell.
Q. Was this the correct conclusion that Dr. Crisci reached?
Q. Why is that?
A. Because you cannot tell where it is exactly.
Q. And where was the feeding tube?
A. It was in the lung.
N.T. 05.10.16 (a.m.), pp. 97-98.
MR. TRUNK: You told us earlier that Dr. Crisci should have --
when she saw that study on December 3rd, she should have
recognized that it was an abdominal study, and she should
have ordered another study. Did I get that right?
DR. IGIDBASHIAN: Yes.
Q. Did she do that?
Q. Was that a breach of the standard of care?
Q. And did that failure increase the risk of harm to Mr.
N.T. 05.10.16 (a.m.), pp. 136-137.
The expert testimony at trial was sufficient for the jury to
find that Dr. Crisci violated the standard of care by her
failure to order another study to make sure the feeding tube
was in Mr. Summerford's stomach and not his lung. The
court properly denied Dr. Crisci's motion for a non-suit
because the evidence was sufficient for a jury to determine
that Dr. Crisci was liable to [Appellee].
Dr. Crisci claims she is entitled to judgment n.o.v.
or a new trial because Dr. Igidbashian failed to testify that
Dr. Crisci, "breached the standard of care in her
interpretation of the thoracoabdominal x-ray performed on
December 3, 2008." Crisci Post-Trial Motion, 3. In
support of this argument, Dr. Crisci asserts: "Dr.
Igidbashian testified that it was a breach of the standard of
care for Dr. Crisci not to have ordered a new study; however,
Dr. Igidbashian did not testify that there was a breach in
the standard of care with regard to the interpretation of the
study itself." Id.
At the conclusion of Plaintiffs case-in-chief, Dr. Crisci
made the following oral motion for a partial non-suit:
MS. RAYNOR (Counsel for Crisci): Your Honor, now that
[Appellee] has closed her case, I would like to make a
partial motion for nonsuit on the basis that, as I understand
[Appellee's] claims, there were two.
Number 1, that Dr. Crisci misread an x-ray, which has been
conceded and that she failed, allegedly failed to recognize
it was a bad study from a technical perspective and ask for
[Appellee's] expert, Dr. Igidbashian, testified that she
breached the standard of care on only one of those pieces,
which was not appreciating that it was not the proper study,
and ordering another study that would better capture the
He did not state that she breached the standard of care by
making an error, a mistake, and I think for that piece of it
to go to the jury as -- he would have had to have given that
testimony, and he did not.
THE COURT: Okay. Do you want to respond to that?
MR. TRUNK (Counsel for [Appellee]): He actually did give that
testimony, and the testimony was that there was a breach of
the standard of care to incorrectly interpret the study, and
as well as to not ask for a new study.
THE COURT: Okay.
MS. RAYNOR: Your Honor, if l may say, I specifically asked
him on recross, to be clear, that his own only claim of the
breach of the standard of care was that she did not ask for
another study for interpretation.
X X X
THE COURT: Okay. I'm going to deny the motion.
N.T. 05.11.16 (p.m.), pp. 222-224.
In Montgomery v. S. Philadelphia Med. Group, Inc.,
656 A.2d 1385 (Pa. Super. 1995), the Superior Court
explained: A motion for a non-suit may be granted only where
it is clear that no other conclusion could be reached under
the evidence presented. Bowser v. Lee Hosp., 399
Pa.Super. 332, 337, 582 A.2d 369, 371 (1990), allocatur
denied, 527 Pa. 614, 590 A.2d 755 (1991); A.J
Aberman, Inc. v. Funk Bldg. Corp., 278 Pa.Super. 385,
393, 420 A.2d 594, 598 (1980). When considering such a
motion, issues of credibility and the weight to be assigned
to the evidence are not to be resolved by the trial judge,
but must be left for the finder of fact to resolve at the
close of the evidence. Scott v. Purcell, 490 Pa.
109, 113, 415 A.2d 56, 58 (1980). Because a jury may not
reach its verdict on mere speculation, however, a trial court
may enter a non-suit if the plaintiff has failed to produce
sufficient evidence to meet his or her burden of proof.
Morena v. South Hills Health Sys., 501 Pa. 634, 462
A.2d 680, 683 (1983).
Montgomery, 656 A.2d at 1388.
Dr. Crisci is correct that Dr. lgidbashian did not offer an
expert opinion that she violated the standard of care by
misinterpreting the x-ray on December 3, 2008. His criticism
of her care was limited to her failure to recognize the
December 3, 2008 x-ray was inadequate and failing to order an
additional x-ray to confirm placement of the feeding tube.
It is of no moment that the court denied Dr. Crisci's
motion for a partial non-suit regarding an unproven claim. If
erroneous, this ruling had no effect whatsoever regarding the
admission of any evidence at trial or the court's charge
to the jury at the conclusion of the case. It is not the
court's practice to instruct the jury regarding the
theories of liability or the defenses to liability but,
instead, to instruct the jury that they must weigh the
credible evidence and apply the law charged by the court in
order to determine whether plaintiff satisfied her burden of
proof or not. 7"Where a case is submitted to
a jury on several theories which have been pleaded in the
alternative, the verdict can be upheld if the evidence is
sufficient to prove a valid cause under any of those
theories." Niles v. Fall Creek Hunting Club,
Inc., 545 A.2d 926, 931 (Pa.Super. 1988).
6 The tip of the feeding tube is denser, and thus
brighter, so that it can more easily be identified by x-ray.
7 Dr. Crisci did not request a limiting
instruction that the jury should not consider Dr.
Crisci's misinterpretation of the x-ray as a basis for
Court Opinion, filed 12/29/16, at 6-11.
the foregoing evidence presented at trial in a light most
favorable to Appellee as we must, we find it was sufficient
to sustain the verdict. As such, we affirm the trial
court's decision to deny the motion for JNOV.
their third and fourth issues, Dr. Crisci and RGA challenge
certain testimony of Dr. Hani Abujudeh, an expert in
radiology, presented by AMH. Counsel for Appellee asked Dr.
Abujudeh on cross-examination whether a first-year resident
would be able to identify the path of the feeding tube from
the image presented on the December 3, 2008, x-ray. Over
objection, Dr. Abujudeh responded as follows:
Q. Could a first year resident tell on the image from
December 3rd, 2008?
Ms. Raynor: Objection, that's beyond the scope of his
report, and he's asking for a standard of care opinion.
The Court: Overruled. Go ahead.
Q. Could a first year resident determine on that x-ray that
Dr. Crisci misinterpreted that the course of the feeding tube
is misplaced and goes into the lungs and not the stomach?
A. Yes. In fact, the jury can also tell right now, based on
education that I gave them, that is the wrong place, not just
a first year resident.
Q. A first year resident, and even a jury of - - you're
assuming that they are not radiologists, I assume, right?
A. Right, based on experience that they have explored, you
can see that the first one is going down this way, and the
second one is going down on the same path.
Q. And that's because that was a superb film to see,
N.T. Trial, 5/11/16 p.m., at 190-191.
Crisci and RGA reason that the aforementioned exchange
"gave the jury the misinterpretation that that they were
more competent and trained to interpret such an x-ray than
Dr. Crisci who attended medical school and was the Chair of
the Radiology Department at Abington Hospital for years, and
that, she was at best, not competent to read the film, or at
worst, she was grossly negligent." Brief of Appellants
at 24. They further contend a new trial is warranted as this
testimony was outside the scope of Dr. Abujudeh's report
in violation of Pa.R.C.P. § 4003.4(c) and exceeded the
testimony of Appellee's expert as to Dr. Crisci's
breach of the standard of care. Id. at 27.
considering whether the trial court had erred in denying an
appellant's motion for a mistrial based upon certain
remarks of a Commonwealth witness, our Supreme Court
generally observed that:
[e]very unwise or irrelevant remark made in the course of a
trial by a judge, a witness, or counsel does not compel the
granting of a new trial. A new trial is required when the
remark is prejudicial; that is, when it is of such a nature
or substance or delivered in such a manner that it may