W. J. Sullivan vs Southern Railway Company and Chesapeake & Ohio Rwy. Co.
Before Hon. J. B. T. Thornton and Jury, Manassas, Va. June 8-13-1916
Messrs. Thomas H. Patterson and Crandal Mackey, attorneys for the plaintiff
Messrs. Moore, Keith, McCandlish & Hall (Mr. Keith & Mr. Hall)
and H. W. Davies for the Southern Railway Company
Messrs. Browning & Browning, Attorneys for Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Co.
Mr. Mackey: We will agree that this model be used by all sides, if you wish
Mr. Browning: We have not seen it.
Mr. Mackey: Will you have it brought in Mr. Hall?
Mr. Browning: We would like to know what model it is. We have not seen it.
Court: I imagine it will not be used before recess.
Mr. Mackey: We might call one of our witnesses early. We might not use it before recess.
Mr. Browning: That need not delay us. We want our expert to see it. We have no doubt we will
agree to it.
Dr. R. E. Wine a witness called on behalf of the plaintiff, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By Mr. Mackey
Q. Doctor, what is your business? Answer – I am a physician
Q. Where did you graduate in medicine? Answer – Richmond Medical College of Virginia.
Q. In what year? Answer – 1899
Q. To what medical societies do you belong, if any? Answer – I belong to the local societies here principally in the county and Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and state societies.
Q. The State Medical Society of Northern Virginia & the District of Columbia? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Did you have occasion to render any treatment or aid to the plaintiff, William J. Sullivan, on the night of February 23, 1915? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Where was that, Doctor? Answer – Near Bristow.
Q. About what time of night? Answer – I judge it was about six o’clock, or slightly afterwards. It was dark
Q. Where did Mr. Sullivan come from? Answer – I understand that he was coming from Washington.
Q. Was he a passenger on any train that night? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. What train? Answer – On the train the accident occurred – 17 I think was the number of it.
Q. 17 of the Southern? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. What was his condition, Doctor, when you saw him? Answer – Well he was evidently suffering considerably, and apparently helpless in the use of one arm.
Q. Do you recall what arm that was, Doctor? Answer – The right arm I think.
Q. What was the cause, tell the condition in which you found his right arm, and where? Answer – Of course, at that time everything was excitement, and as to the details I don’t know whether I can cover those very thoroughly. He was holding his arm out this way (indicating), and apparently could not lower it. I do not recall just the condition. After some little effort I caught him by the arm up here (indicating), and at the wrist, and pulled on it slightly.
Court: Doctor, the Jury can’t hear a word of it.
Mr. Mackey: Speak loud enough for them to hear you.
Q. Now, Doctor, you handled his arm? Answer – Yes, sir; he was able to lower it afterwards to go back into position, but apparently it was a partial dislocation. I would say so, and so construed it.
Q. Did you set his arm, doctor? Answer – I think so. Anyway it was relieved from that to an extent.
Q. Tell what treatment you rendered him? Answer – In addition to that I think I probably gave him a hypodermic, and then he was removed to Bristow to his father-in-law’s and afterwards Dr. Iden and I called on him at Mr. Halderman’s.
Q. Was it that night or next day? Answer – That night. I also saw him several times after that.
Q. State whether or not he appeared to be suffering? Answer – Yes, sir, intensely.
Q. From what, doctor? Answer – Probably partly due to his arm, and, if I recall correctly, he suffered considerably in his abdomen.
Q. Did you strip him, doctor? Answer – That night, I hardly think so. I am not sure about that.
Q. Did you visit him next day? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. What was his condition then? Answer – He was still suffering considerably, and extremely nervous.
Q. Did you strip him then? Answer – Yes, sir
Q. What objective signs or ocular evidence or injury did you see? Answer – There was some swelling of the arm and shoulder. Objective you want?
Q. Yes. Answer – Some slight swelling across here, across the abdomen and upper region of the stomach.
Q. State whether there is a plexus of nerves at that point where the swelling was? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. What is the name of that plexus? Answer – The Solar.
Q. Now, doctor, you state the solar plexus is where the swelling was? Answer – Not there, No sir.
Q. In that neighborhood? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. State what relation that plexus bears to the brain and nervous system? Answer – May I ask whether I am to appear in the capacity of an ordinary witness, because those things that ----
Q. (Interrupting ) If you know? Answer – I would rather not Answer it.
Q. Well, doctor, I will ask you this, whether or not the solar plexus is a congeries or plexus or nerves? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. What is the usual effect of a blow in the neighborhood of the solar plexus – how would it affect the nervous system generally, and the brain? Answer – There is a good deal to that which I do not feel competent to Answer because I think that is in the line of a specialist.
Q. Doctor, did you put his arm in splints, or his shoulder? Answer – I bandaged it, yes, sir.
Q. Did you put braces or things to hold it in position? Answer – No, sir.
Q. Did you put it in a sling, doctor? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Was that your last visit, the visit subsequent to the accident? Answer – No; I seen Mr. Sullivan; I was treating his wife at the same time, and I seen Mr. Sullivan quite a few times after that.
Q. Do you recall how many days after the accident you saw him? Answer – I could not. I would judge ten, perhaps ten days; it might not have been that long.
Q. Do you know if he passed any blood from the bowels during the time you treated him? Answer – Yes, sir, I think so.
Q. To what did you attribute that, doctor, and to what do you now attribute it? Answer – I thought it was possibly due to some internal injuries, but there were no bad symptoms developed which would indicate that there was anything of a serious nature.
Q. From what did this blood come, according to your diagnosis, doctor? Answer – The passage of the blood, if I recall correctly, was only for a few days, and as to the cause of it, it is probable that the accident or injuries received during the accident produced it, as he had been healthy previous to that time.
Q. That is you know, doctor, - your knowledge was from a history of his previous health? Answer – Yes sir
Q. He was a stranger to you at that time? Answer – Absolutely.
Q. Do you recall whether or not he complained of any trouble with his head at that time, doctor, in the way of headache or other trouble? Answer – I do not. I do not recall that at all. Perhaps he did, though, but I am not sure.
Q. you don’t remember? Answer – I don’t recall any of those.
Q. Were you on this southern train, doctor, when this accident happened? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Where were you going? Answer – To Bristow.
Q. From what point? Answer – Manassas
Q. You were on there when the collision occurred, were you, doctor? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. What effect did the collision have generally on this car that you were in? Answer – Quite a little excitement.
Q. Were any persons thrown around in the car? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Did you know if Mr. Sullivan was one of them? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. What was his position, doctor, immediately after the wreck, when Mr. Sullivan was found suffering with his shoulder?
Mr. Browning: Your Honor, should not he qualify before he asks that?
Court: Qualify in what respect?
Mr. Browning: As to the position.
Mr. Mackey: What position were you in? Answer – Sitting on the train
Q. Yes, just before the accident? Answer – Mr. Sullivan and his wife, I knew neither one at the time, they were sitting on the front seat, on the left hand side of the aisle, and I was sitting on the second seat back on the right hand side. I was one seat back of them to the right.
Q. Did you see him immediately after the collision? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Where was he then? Answer – He was at the end of the car. I was trying to get out as rapidly as I could. If I recall, there was a little vestibule or ante-room at the end of the car there, and he was in there. I heard a cry on the outside for help, and I rushed out to the engine then, and Mr. Halterman came to me and asked me to examine Mr. Sullivan, his son-in-law. As soon as we taken care of those on the outside I went back to him, which was probably five or ten minutes.
Q. State whether or not it was dark when this collision occurred? Answer – Yes, sir.
By Mr. Hall
Q. Doctor, were you in the combination coach, or in the passenger coach that day? Answer – I think I was in the passenger coach
Q. You are not sure? Answer – I am not sure. I am not sure that there was a combination. I guess there was.
Q. A smoking car? Answer – No, I was in the day coach.
Q. You were not in the smoking car? Answer – No, sir, I was not in that section.
Q. Are you living in Manassas now, doctor? Answer – No, sir.
Q. Where do you live? Answer – I am living up in the Valley at the present time. I have been at Hopewell.
Q. Up in the Valley? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. You were asked to come here by the defense, were you not? Answer – I had a letter from Mr. Baumgardner.
Q. Of the Southern Railway? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Do you recollect seeing Mr. Sullivan before the accident happened? Answer – I recall distinctly seeing Mr. Sullivan –I didn’t know who it was at that time – in a seat immediately in front of me on the opposite side of the aisle, because there were very few on the train that evening, and I recall seeing them very distinctly.
Q. Was he sitting on the outside of the seat, and his wife on the inside? Answer – I think so, That is my recollection of it.
Q. And did he have his baby in his arms, or do you recall? Answer – I think he did yes, sir.
Q. When this collision occurred, was the car in which you were sitting derailed, was it thrown off the track? Answer – No, sir, I don’t think it was. I am sure it was not, because that same coach was brought back to Manassas that night.
Q. The only evidence of collision, so far as you observed, was the shock when it stopped? Answer Yes sir.
Q. You were sitting down when the collision happened? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. What effect did the collision have on you? Answer – It threw me out in the aisle. I am not sure that I did not hit Mr. Sullivan in my trying to catch myself.
Q. It did not throw you off your feet? Answer – No, sir.
Q. It did not throw Mr. Sullivan off his feet, did it? Answer – I don’t know; I am not sure that, because I was looking after myself.
Q. You say maybe you sort of bumped up against Mr. Sullivan? Answer – I think so, I recall him having a child in his arms immediately after.
Q. He still had the child in his arm when you noticed him after the accident? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. The child was not hurt, was she? Answer – No, sir.
Q. And who ask you to come and help Mr. Sullivan? Answer – Mr. Halterman, Mr. Sullivan’s father-in-law
Q. Was he on the train, too? Answer – No sir. He had come down from Bristow waiting for them, expecting them to call.
Q. When the train stopped Mr. Halterman came down from the station, I guess? Answer – Yes, sir, that is my understanding of it.
Q. Did you make a report of your examination of Mr. Sullivan to Mr. Hudson of the Southern Railway? Answer – I think so, yes, sir.
Q. Did you find any evidence of piles when you examined Mr. Sullivan? Answer – I did not. I made no examination.
Q. You made no examination for that? Answer – No, sir.
Q. Then you don’t know whether the emission of blood, of which he complained, was due to piles or not? Answer – No, sir.
Q. As a matter of fact, do you know anything about the emission of blood except what Mr. Sullivan told you? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. You mean to say you don’t know anything about the passage of blood except what Mr. Sullivan told you? Answer – No, sir.
Q. And when he told you that, it had stopped for several days? Answer – I think it had I’m not sure.
Q. You place your last visit to Mr. Sullivan about ten days after the accident? Answer – I think so. Probably not that long, or probably a few days more. I don’t recall at this time how long it was.
Q. Did you ever give him any medical assistance except to help his dislocated arm? Answer – I think I possibly gave him, yes, I gave him, I think, some internal treatment, and probably a hypodermic, but I am no sure of that.
Q. That was at the time of the accident? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. That day? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. After that did you give him any further treatments? Answer – Yes, sir, I think probably gave him something for his nerves, but I don’t recall.
Q. At that time your prognosis of the case was, as you have stated, was that there was nothing serious, and that there would be no permanent injury? Answer – That was my opinion of it, yes, sir.
Q. Now, will you tell the jury what was his physical condition when you last saw him about ten days after the accident? Answer – Apparently good. Of course, he had considerable soreness yet, but his general condition, I would consider it to have been in a good way to recovery.
Q. When you stripped him to examine him and examined him, did you examine his head carefully? Answer – I did not.
Q. What part of it did you examine? Answer – I don’t know if I examined it at all.
Q. When you stripped him what did you examine? Answer – Principally his shoulder and abdomen.
Q. Those were the only parts about which he complained? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Then it is probable that he did not complain at that time of anything but his shoulder and abdomen; is that correct? Answer – Yes, sir.
Mr. Browning: May I ask at what time he did not complain of anything but his abdomen?
Mr. Hall: When you stripped him and examined him, was it ten days after the accident.
Answer – No; I am of the opinion the last time we stripped him was the day on which Dr. Merchant went with me to Bristow. That was probably four of five days after the accident.
Q. That was a joint examination? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Four or five days after the accident? Answer – That is my memory of it, yes, sir.
Q. And will you state whether, at the time or at any other time during your treatment of him, he complained of any injury to the head? Answer – I do not recall. He may have done so, but I don’t recall it.
Q. I believe you have stated that you did not examine his head at all? Answer – No, sir, I don’t think I did.
Q. Now, recalling your position just as the accident happened, you being thrown out of the seat and bumping into Mr. Sullivan, will you tell the jury what opportunity, if any, there was for any piece of iron, or piece of timber, or any other wreckage, striking Mr. Sullivan? Answer – I don’t quite get that.
Q. I say about this impact at the time of the accident: You say you were thrown out of your seat, and sort of bumped into Mr. Sullivan, and the car still stayed on the track. I say what opportunity did you have to observe a piece of iron, or piece of wood, or a piece of wreckage of any character, to strike Mr. Sullivan at any place? Answer – That is perfectly possible, because the whole end of the car, or the corner, was knocked in. The glass was knocked out, and there was timber and glass flying all around and when I got out of the coach the ground on the opposite side was covered with lumber.
Q. That was on the outside of the coach? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. did you see any lumber on the inside of the coach? Answer – Nothing except what belonged to the coach itself.
Q. You mean by that, splinters from the frame around the glass? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Splinters, and shivers, and glass, and things of that kind? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. I am talking about big pieces of timber? Answer – No, sir.
Q. There was not anything of that kind? Answer – No, sir.
Q. There were not any bars of pig iron thrown into the car? Answer – I didn’t see any.
Q. Would you have been apt to see any pig iron if it had been there? Answer – I think so.
Q. I understand you qualify your statement by saying you saw splinters from the windows? Answer - Yes, sir.
Q. Or from the toilet? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. You did not see any lumber from the car, or anything of that kind? Answer – No, sir.
By Mr. A. T. Browning:
Q. Doctor, I understand you to say that the solar plexus was in that neighborhood, the neighborhood of where you supposed a blow was; was that right? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. How near in that neighborhood, doctor, could you tell us? Answer – Now, you are going into details I can’t answer.
Q. You can’t answer that? Answer – No, sir.
Q. You don’t know how near to the solar plexus it was? Answer – No sir because I don’t know the extent of the injury. I don’t recall because that part of it never occurred to me.
Q. Did you make a thorough examination, doctor, around his solar plexus? Answer – I don’t know that I did.
Q. You said there was some swelling, if I understood you correctly, of his arm and shoulder; how much swelling, doctor, could you describe to the jury? Answer – At first it was right extensive. I should say the first day after the accident; and the last examination there was still some swelling there.
Q. Some what? Ans. -some swelling there the last time I seen him which has not completely disappeared.
Q. At that time, doctor, was there any other evidence of injury to his arm and shoulder than that swelling that you observed? Answer – how is that?
Q. At that time was there any other evidence of injury to his arm and shoulder; that is, other than swelling that you observed? Answer – Loss of action and use. That was still absent yet.
Q. You mean by that some stiffness? A. Yes, sir, and it was still sensitive, and it was sensitive in the muscles of the back.
Q. Was there any bruise or cut? Answer – No, sir.
Q. Your diagnosis of that, doctor, was it that it was of a temporary or a permanent nature? Answer – Well, I think it is conceded that a dislocation, when it is reduced, is temporary.
Q. And this, I understood you to say, was only a partial dislocation? Answer – That is my idea of it. I hardly think it could have been complete, because I would not have been able to reduce it so easily.
Q. You say you were treating his wife at the same time that you went to the house? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Did he send for you to see him, or did you go on those visits to see his wife, and merely incidentally examine him? Answer – Well, both.
Q. Well, how do you mean “both”, doctor? Answer – Well, I was treating both of them. I might put it this way: Had Mrs. Sullivan not been sick I would probably have made the same number of visits anyway to see Mr. Sullivan.
Q. And had he not been injured, you would probably have made the same number to see her? Ans.- Yes.
Q. Doctor, did he give you any history of his previous physical condition? Answer – No, sir.
Q. He did not? Answer – No, sir.
Q. I understood you to say from personal knowledge you also knew nothing of his previous physical condition? Answer – Yes, sir, that is right.
Q. Doctor, you said that he and his wife, at the time of the accident, were on the front seat on the left hand side of the car? Answer – That is my memory of it.
Q. There was no seat in front of them? Answer – No, sir.
Q. Were you the nearest person to him in that car at the time of the accident? Answer – I hardly think there was anyone sitting in the seat in front of me. There may have been, but I do not recall at this time.
Q. You were going to get off at Bristow? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Had you arisen from your seat in order to get off the train? Answer – Oh, no.
Q. Had Mr. Sullivan? Answer – No sir, I don’t think so.
By Mr. Mackey
Q. Doctor, you say you were summoned here by the Southern Railway? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Were you one of their surgeons at that time? Answer – No, sir.
Q. State whether or not the shock was severe when this collision took place? Answer – quite a good deal of shock, yes, sir.
Q. Was it sufficient to have knocked a person down who was standing up? Answer – I think it was, easily.
Q. Was it sufficient to knock a person out of the seat who was sitting down? Answer – It did me.
Q. Doctor, state whether or not you are positive that the child remained in Mr. Sullivan’s arms, or whether the child was not, in fact, thrown about ten or fifteen feet away from him? Answer – No, I can’t be positive.
Q. You can’t be positive about that? Answer – Since you presented that question I probably, in thinking about it at the time, was thinking about the crash, when I seen Mr. Sullivan with the child in his arms.
Q. State whether or not the child had its face dirty from rubbish? Answer – I can’t remember.
Q. I believe you said on cross examination that the entire front of the car was torn away? Answer – The coroner, but not completely torn away.
Q. Do you know whether any timber or other wood, or anything else struck Mr. Sullivan in the head? Answer – I don’t know.
Q. You don’t know whether it did or did not? Answer - No, sir.
Q. Didn’t you hand him, doctor, from the inside of the car, a strip of wood several feet long, and two or three inches wide, as a relic? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. That came from the inside of the car? Answer – Yes, sir. I will not say it came from the inside but it came from the door facing.
Q. From the door jamb? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. Were the door jams torn away? Answer – Yes, sir.
Mr. Browning: Now, if your Honor please, we must object to the form of this question. The
witness is the witness of the plaintiff, and we will have to object to the continuance of the attorney asking leading questions and suggesting matters.
Mr. Mackey: It was simply new matter.
Q. Doctor, you mentioned in answer to Mr. Hall, you knew blood from what Mr. Sullivan said; I will ask you whether or not he showed you blood in his stool? Answer – I think not.
Q. You think not? Answer – Yes, sir. I wish to retract that, he did, I recall it now.
Q. You remember now, doctor, that you saw blood in his stool? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. On how many occasions? Answer – Only one.
Q. Do you remember how many days that was after the accident? Answer – I do not.
Q. Doctor, you spoke several days after the accident that he was sensitive in the muscles of the back; will you say what part of the back that was? Answer – The right shoulder.
Q. In the neighborhood of the right shoulder? Answer – Yes, sir.
Q. How near the spinal column, doctor? Answer – I don’t recall that there was any swelling there to any extent.
Q. You mean between the shoulders this pain or this sensitiveness? Answer – No, sir, I mean back of the shoulder, and under it, and in the front, too, for that matter.