Hospital Must Tell Patient of the Whereabouts of a Potential Nurse/Witness

By Michael Zerres

Even When Nurse Leaves Hospital’s Employment

Sometimes, in a malpractice case against a physician, the plaintiff’s best witness may be a nurse who was also involved in the patient’s care. When the nurses notes don’t jive with the doctors, calling the nurse as a witness to counter the doctor’s description of events is a useful strategy. In the case of Cohen v. Community Medical Center and others, decided on 6-30-06, the NJ Appellate Division directed that when a plaintiff provides adequate notice prior to trial of his/her intention to call a nurse employed by the hospital as a witness, and the nurse no longer works at the hospital, the hospital nonetheless must provide the last known address of the nurse and any other information the hospital may possess relative to the nurses whereabouts. In other words, the hospital cannot simply claim “she no longer works here” if the nurse’s testimony will be unfavorable to the defense.

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