Medical Record v. Business Record Exception to the Hearsay Rule;
Commonwealth v. Irene,
Decided June 26, 2012 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
The Supreme Court of Massachusetts made clear that the hearsay exception providing for admissibility of medical records is strictly governed by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 233, section 79.
In the instant case, the prosecution argued admissibility of the Medical Records under the general business record exception to the hearsay rule. The Court ruled that the business record exception under section 78 of chapter 233 did not govern admissibility of medical records. Specifically, the Court mandated that in order for a statement to be admissible as part of the medical record exception, the statement must be made for purposes of medical evaluation or treatment.
In this case, the Defendant, Irene, told his doctor that he was “shot while in a taxicab.” The Defendant was charged with Armed Robbery. The victim, a taxicab driver, had indicated that the Defendant had entered his vehicle and demanded money. When the Defendant fled the scene, the taxicab driver stated that he had fired his gun and had hit the Defendant. The Court determined that, while the medical personnel may have used the statement for purposes of medical treatment, it would not be admissible since it went to the ultimate conclusion of crime. The Court noted that nothing contained in the record, under the medical record exception to the hearsay rule, shall be admissible as evidence which has reference to the question of liability.
For the full opinion see http://www.massreports.com/slipops/