August 20, 1979
Scans of original transcript
THE COURT: Call your next witness.
MR. SEGAL: Yes, Your Honor. The Defense calls Ms. Carmine Welch.
(Whereupon, CARMINE TAYLOR WELCH was called as a witness, duly sworn, and testified as follows:)
D I R E C T E X A M I N A T I O N 4:41 p.m.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Ms. Welch, would you be good enough to tell us your full name, please, and your present address?
A Carmine Taylor Welch; 512 Temple Avenue; Long Beach, California.
Q If you would, would you use that microphone a little bit because you have a very soft voice. Ms. Welch, have you been connected with the St. Mary's Hospital in Long Beach, California?
A Yes; since 19 -- well, since 1967.
Q Are you still currently connected with St. Mary's Hospital?
A No; I retired in April of this year.
Q During the period of time that you were at St. Mary's Hospital, what sort of work did you do?
A I was Admitting Clerk.
Q Will you just tell us briefly what an Admitting Clerk did -- what your responsibilities were?
A Admitting Clerk is taking the biostatistics of patients coming into our hospital either for general admission or for Emergency Room care.
Q Prior to going to work at St. Mary's Hospital, what had you done for a living? What sort of occupation did you have?
A I was a school teacher -- primary school teacher.
Q Primary school teacher -- and where did you teach?
A I taught at St. Matthew's Parochial School in Long Beach,
Q How long were you at St. Matthew's?
A Twenty-two years.
Q As a primary school teacher?
A Yes, second grade.
Q During the time that you were working at St. Mary's Hospital, did you come to know Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, the Defendant in this case?
A Yes, I did, when he came there in 1971.
Q That was the first time you came in contact with him?
Q Were you working -- well, what department did he start to work in when he came to the hospital?
A I remember him in the Emergency Department.
Q Were you attached to that department at that time?
A Not at that time. I was with the General Admissions.
Q Did you come to work with him later on in the Emergency Department?
A Yes, I did, about 1973.
Q Did you stay in the Emergency Department until the time you retired at the hospital?
A Yes, I did.
Q When Dr. MacDonald first came to St. Mary's Hospital, did you hear anybody talk about the fact that he had been charged in 1970 with the murders of his family?
A No; I truthfully never did hear that until I read it in the newspaper later.
Q When did you read it in the newspapers -- in '75, you mean?
A Approximately around that time; yes.
Q Did you work frequently with Dr. MacDonald from the time that you went to the Emergency Department where he was?
A Yes, or generally, if something traumatic came in, the Clerk would have to go back to obtain a name or some type of identification of a patient. At that time, I would be in the room with the doctor and the patient.
Q How often would you say you would see Dr. MacDonald in the course of a week or so? I don't mean to just look at him but actually be with him and work with him?
A Work with him, you mean?
A It would depend on what the doctor's shift was and my shift, so I would say approximately once a week.
Q Did this continue throughout the entire time you were at the hospital?
Q Did you ever have occasion to see how Dr. MacDonald treated patients when they were brought in in the Emergency Department?
A Of course, my impression of Dr. MacDonald has been that he is very dedicated and has great compassion for the person and to administer as quickly as he could first aid.
Q You say that your impression is that he has great compassion for the person. Can you tell us, perhaps, what do you base that opinion on? What experiences have you had with him that led you to the conclusion that he is a compassionate man?
A Well, I think his quick action, and, of course, personally, my own husband was quite ill one morning at 2:30 in the morning and was taken in by paramedics. The doctor did not know it was my husband, and he treated him for septicemia, and according to our family doctor, it was Dr. MacDonald's quick action that saved his life.
Q Did you see him dealing with patients who were rowdy or unruly, people who were drunk or under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they came to the Emergency Room?
Q Did that happen very often when you had patients like that at the St. Mary's Hospital?
A Unfortunately, we do.
Q Tell us a little bit -- you know -- Saint Mary's -- is that a suburban area or what kind of area -- for those of us who are not familiar with Long Beach?
A Well, it's more or less like an inner city area.
Q Inner city area?
A Yeah; and even as to how some of the people that would come in -- how the clerks were treated -- if Dr. MacDonald was on duty, he always stepped out to ask them to quiet down and not talk to the ladies in that manner.
Q What about -- did you ever have occasion to see a patient become rude or speak profanity toward Dr. MacDonald or other members of the medical staff to see how he handled those situations?
MR. BLACKBURN: Your Honor, we would like to approach the Bench.
THE COURT: Well, is this an objection? I'll SUSTAIN an objection to that question.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Did you ever have occasion to see Dr. MacDonald in dealing with children who were patients or otherwise brought into the emergency ward?
A Yes; I have.
Q Could you tell us about how he dealt with and handled children?
MR. BLACKBURN: OBJECTION.
THE COURT: OVERRULED.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Yes, you may answer, Ms. Welch.
A Well, I think the same care of any patient with great interest is to care for the patient.
Q When you say "care," are we talking about just -- you know -- doing the thing a doctor is supposed to do or are we talking about some other qualities involved in his treatment and handling of children?
A Well, I found him to be very kind and fatherly with children and to ease youngsters because most youngsters are more or less shy and frightened of hospitals and doctors.
Q And how would he deal with those persons? How did he overcome that kind of attitude if you ever saw any such experiences?
A Well, of course, mine would have been more or less when I first went in like for a translation where the family could not speak English. I would translate it for children, and there would have to be quick action between my trying to translate to the doctor what was wrong with the child, et cetera.
Q Was he a man that shows he was quick to become irritated, quick to lose his temper in these kinds of situations you describe?
MR. ANDERSON: OBJECT to leading.
THE WITNESS: No, I don't think so. No, I really don't.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Did Dr. MacDonald have occasion during the time that you worked with him in the emergency ward to deal with battered children?
A I know of cases that have come in. I've seen two myself where cigarette burns or malnutrition and the interest the doctor has taken to see that things are taken care of and the child is admitted to the hospital for observation.
Q Go ahead. I'm sorry. I did not mean to interrupt you. I was going to ask you about, Ms. Welch, would you say the interest and concern he expressed about battered children was the same as other doctors or different than other doctors expressed?
A I believe it is a policy that Dr. MacDonald has in our hospital emergency room to be on the lookout for something like this.
Q When you say "be on the lookout," does that mean to take special care and attention to the situation?
A To take care of children coming in, yes.
Q Did you ever have occasion to see Dr. MacDonald dealing with people who were apparently under the influence of drugs or narcotics when they were brought into the hospital?
A Yes; an overdose.
Q And what was his attitude toward them? I mean, how did he handle those patients and how did he express himself toward those people?
A Well, the same as any other patient -- with interest and care.
Q I'm sorry.
A With interest and care -- like any other patient.
Q What is your opinion of Dr. MacDonald as far as being a peaceful man -- a man not given to outbursts of violence or rage? What is your opinion of him in that regard?
A I have the highest opinion of Dr. MacDonald. I have never seen him in any form of anger of any sort.
Q What is your opinion of Dr. MacDonald as far as being a truthful man?
A Well, as far as honesty is concerned, I trust everyone until they are proven otherwise, and I have never found him to be untruthful.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q And how long is that that you have known him and worked for him?
A Since 1971, that I have known the doctor and worked steadily in his department for the last six years.
MR. SEGAL: Thank you, Ms. Welch. The Government may want to ask you some questions in cross-examination.
MR. BLACKBURN: Just a very few questions.
C R O S S E X A M I N A T I O N 4:50 p.m.
BY MR. BLACKBURN:
Q Ms. Welch, when did you first meet Dr. MacDonald?
A In 1971.
Q In 1971?
Q You started to work in general admissions in 1973?
Q In 1973, you started working for Dr. MacDonald, is that correct?
A In the emergency department. I transferred over to that area.
Q You never knew him, then, prior to his coming to California, is that correct?
A No; I never did.
Q You never knew his prior family, I take it?
Q You do not have any personal, firsthand knowledge of what occurred at Fort Bragg on the evening of the 17th of February, 1970, do you?
MR. BLACKBURN: No further questions.
MR. SEGAL: Thank you very much, Ms. Welch. You may step down, please.
THE COURT: Call your next witness.
Webmaster note:The original stenographer's misspelling of Carmen was corrected to Carmine in this transcript.