Absent-Minded Lawyers

Judge Jerry Buchmeyer of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas writes a monthly article for the Texas Bar Journal. Often, he cites unusual exchanges between lawyers and witnesses during trials.

The following true exchange says it all:

Lawyer: “So, Doctor, you determined that a gunshot wound was the cause of death of the patient?”

Doctor: “That’s correct.”

Lawyer: “Did you examine the patient when he came to the emergency room?”

Doctor: “No, I performed the autopsy.”

Lawyer: “OK, were you aware of his vital signs when he was at the hospital?”

Doctor: “He came into the emergency room in shock and died a short time later.”

Lawyer: “Did you pronounce him dead at that time?”

Doctor: “No, I am the pathologist who performed the autopsy. I was not involved with the patient initially.”

Lawyer: “Well, are you even sure then, that he died in the emergency room.”

Doctor: “That is what the records indicate.”

Lawyer: “But if you weren’t there, how could you have pronounced him dead, having not seen or physically examined the patient at that time?”

Doctor: “The autopsy showed massive hemorrhaging in the chest area and that was the cause of death.”

Lawyer: “I understand that, but you were not actually present to examine the patient and pronounce him dead, isn’t that right?”

Doctor: “No, sir, I did not see the patient or actually pronounce him dead, but I did perform an autopsy and right now his brain is in a jar over at the county morgue. As for the rest of the patient, for all I know, HE COULD BE OUT PRACTICING LAW SOMEWHERE!!”

%d bloggers like this: