Article 32 Hearing
August 10, 1970
Mrs. Bobbie Sue Evans
(The hearing was reconvened at 1340 hours, 10 August 1970.)
COL ROCK: This hearing will come to order. Are we ready to proceed with the next witness, counsel?
MR. SEGAL: Yes, sir. Counsel for the accused calls Mrs. Bobbie Sue Evans.
(Mrs. Bobbie Sue Evans was called as a witness for the defense, was sworn, and testified as follows.)
Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Mrs. Evans, what is your address, please?
A 426 Champagne Street, Hamlet, North Carolina.
Q What is your profession?
A I'm a nurse at the Hamlet Hospital.
Q How long have you been a nurse?
A Approximately ten years.
Q And how long have you been at the Hamlet Hospital?
A Two years.
Q Now do you know the accused in this case, Captain Jeffrey MacDonald?
A I do.
Q And how long have you known Captain MacDonald?
A Over a period, I guess, of about 8 or 9 months, since he's been coming to Hamlet.
Q How did you come to know Captain MacDonald?
A As a floor nurse, making rounds with him in a case when he came to the hospital.
Q And did you have any particular contacts with him, professional relationship, in terms of doctor-nurse relationship?
A Yes, sir.
Q What was that?
A Making rounds and having to talk with him about the patient and giving medication with him.
Q Is there any particular reason why you had -- strike that. Would you characterize your relationship as a close professional relationship with Dr. MacDonald?
CPT SOMERS: I object. He cannot phrase the question that way.
MR. SEGAL: If the government finds any harm in finding out if the relationship is a close professional one or not, it can cure that harm in cross-examination. It seems to me that this is -- it only goes to the question of ability to observe. The government can't conceivably find any prejudice by the witness being able to tell whether they had a close relationship or not. There's no other way --
CPT SOMERS: Ask her whether she had a close relationship. Is this the question?
MR. SEGAL: I did.
CPT SOMERS: He can easily ask her what her relationship has been. Now if the relationship and degree of relationship is that important to the defense, then it's worth asking the questions correctly.
CPT BEALE: Objection sustained. Rephrase the question.
Continued questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Mrs. Evans, how would you characterize your working relationship with Captain MacDonald?
A In a small hospital, you get to know your doctors very well, and you work rather close with them.
Q Would you say that you worked closely with Captain MacDonald?
A During the day -- at times, yes, sir.
Q Would you say more closely with him than with other doctors?
CPT SOMERS: I object.
Q Or not as close as other doctors.
CPT SOMERS: Same basis.
CPT BEALE: Objection is overruled. What is your answer, Mrs. Evans?
A Yes, I think -- I have several doctors that I take under my wing and I was very fond of Dr. MacDonald as a doctor. He seemed to have what I like in a doctor.
Q Did you have occasion to observe Dr. MacDonald under stress and pressure?
CPT SOMERS: I object. Let him define further the stress and pressure. He's asking the witness to draw a conclusion.
MR. SEGAL: I asked her whether she observed him under stress and pressure. Those are found in Webster's dictionary and I don't impute any other meaning to the words than this. They are obvious.
CPT SOMERS: He's asking the witness to say what's stress and pressure. Someone may --
MR. SEGAL: If the government doesn't think there's a special pressure of being a doctor in a hospital, they can quarrel with the witness whether she ever saw him under stress and pressure, but I have the right to ask her this.
CPT BEALE: Objection is overruled, Captain Somers.
MR. SEGAL: Mrs. Evans, did you ever have occasion to observe Dr. MacDonald under stress and pressure?
A Well, there again, I don't know what you want to define as stress. We had several occasions -- several patients which we had to work very close with and I would say that there are times that you would be under stress with them.
Q Now, how did Dr. MacDonald react under this stress and pressures that you were aware of and observed him under in a hospital situation?
A Very calm and very efficient.
Q Did you ever have occasion to observe him under any situation, any particular professional pressure of any sort in the hospital?
A Working with one particular child, yes.
Q Would you describe for us that incident?
A Well, this child was about nine years old and she had -- really was very sick and the surgeon that we had would not come in to see this child and when Dr. MacDonald came on duty I talked to him about the child and asked him if he would please come in and help us work with the child and see if there was something he could do.
Q Was this an urgent situation of some sort?
A I felt that it was.
Q What, if anything, did Dr. MacDonald -- how did Dr. MacDonald respond to the situation that you are describing?
A Well, he took it right in control and we really did get the child under control.
Q What was Dr. MacDonald's general attitude toward children?
A Well, he could manage children.
CPT SOMERS: Excuse me. I object, unless he shows some basis for giving this opinion.
MR. SEGAL: I'll withdraw the question. Let me ask you this. Mrs. Evans, did you have occasion to observe Captain MacDonald treating children under the age of 13, also in the hospital?
A Yes, sir, on many occasions. When we made rounds on pediatrics -- as I say, I worked all over the hospital.
Q And did Dr. MacDonald work on rounds which involved going to pediatric sections, seeing children?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you have occasion to observe his attitude toward children in this work with him?
A Yes, sir.
Q How would you describe his attitude toward children?
A Very kind.
Q Did you ever hear or see Dr. MacDonald express violence or threaten to do bodily harm to any child?
Q Do you have any children of your own?
A I have four daughters.
Q Did you have occasion to see Dr. MacDonald after February 17th, 1970?
A Yes, sir.
Q Could you say on how many occasions you've seen him?
Q Would you work with Dr. MacDonald again?
A I certainly would.
MR. SEGAL: Would you like to cross-examine?
Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Mrs. Evans, what kind of a nurse are you?
A I'm a licensed practical nurse.
Q Is that the -- distinguished from a registered nurse?
A Yes, it definitely is.
Q In what way?
A We do have all the theory that the registered nurse does. She goes to school longer than we do.
Q When did you first meet Captain MacDonald?
A I don't remember the exact date, sir. It was when he came into the hospital to cover --
Q Do you remember what month?
A I'm not sure about that, sir. It was either October or November. I'm not even sure about the month.
Q How often was he in the hospital prior to the 17th of February?
A Well, I came in contact with him, I believe it was the weekend before -- I believe it was two weeks prior to the 15th and 16th. We had so many doctors that come in from Fort Bragg and I'm not sure of the dates.
Q How often did you work with Captain MacDonald at Hamlet Hospital prior to 17 February?
A Every time he was there.
Q And how often was that?
A I would say 4 or 5 times that he was on call over there.
Q What kind of a schedule did he work while he was there, that is in terms of hours, how long was he usually there?
A Well, when they came during the week, they're on duty from 6 until 12 midnight. On the weekends they come in, sometimes they come in a 6 on Friday night and go through on 12 hour shifts.
Q In other words, during the week they worked 6 hours shifts and on weekends sometimes 12. Is that correct?
A Sometimes. Sometimes they will cover the whole weekend.
Q Mrs. Evans, I understand that you actually saw Captain MacDonald working five or six times prior to the 17th. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you work with Captain MacDonald during the entire time he was in the hospital each time that he was there?
A I was on duty, sir, and we came in contact. I did not stay right with him all the time, no, sir.
Q You worked with him all the time in the sense that you followed him on rounds all the time?
A No, sir. Some rounds.
Q What was the longest period of time that you spent with Captain MacDonald at one time?
A I would say the weekend of the 15th and 16th.
Q How long did you spend with him?
A We made the rounds --
Q Excuse me. Would you tell us what rounds?
A I was covering the complete floor, sir. At the time I was on the surgical floor.
Q Okay. Proceed.
A And we had lunch, I believe, together that day. In fact, you eat when you can, if you're in charge of a floor, and I had to call him several times through out the day to get orders for patients on the floor.
Q Was there ever a student nurse on that floor?
A No, sir.
Q How many patients were on the floor at the time?
A We can care for 24 on the floor and at the time, I believe that we had 18 to 20 patients.
Q Now you made reference to a child who was ill. Apparently Captain MacDonald gave you some assistance with. What was wrong with this child?
A She had a ruptured appendix.
Q What did Captain MacDonald do for her?
A The child was dehydrated and was running a high, elevated temp and I needed someone to give me orders to start an IV on this child, and we had tried IVs previous and she had infiltrated and I had Captain MacDonald put an intracath in for her.
Q Would you explain that term for us?
A Intracath is a needle that has a little plastic loop in it that you insert the needle into the vein, run the loop and bring it out and station it on the arm and it will not infiltrate; you can move the arm in any position that you want to.
Q What do you mean "infiltrate"?
A That is from the needle, when it goes trough the vein and the solution is infiltrating into the patient.
Q What did Captain MacDonald do?
A He inserted the intracath for us and ordered antibiotics for the child.
Q Is this a fairly common medical procedure?
A Yes, sir.
Q And did you know yourself that it was necessary to have the IVs? Did you bring this to the doctor's attention?
A No, sir. The IVs had been previously ordered. We could not get the child to absorb them because she kept infiltrating, and I wanted someone to help me because she had veins that were almost impossible to get the IV started on.
Q I see. How often have you ever seen a doctor in a hospital threaten a child or offer violence to a child?
A Well, never.
Q How long did it take you and Dr MacDonald, with respect to this child we've been discussing?
A Well, covering the child and everything, sir, I would say about an hour, hour and an a half.
CPT SOMERS: I have no further questions.
Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q How many child patients have you seen you seen him treat?
A Sir, I do not know exactly how many children we had on pediatrics that day. There again, I think -- would be either 5 or 7. I can't remember.
Q And your answers are based on this trip through the pediatric ward, your opinion as to his attitude as to child patients, in which he saw five to seven patients?
A That's right, sir.
MR. SEGAL: No further questions.
Q Mrs. Evans, I have just one question. Did Dr. MacDonald ever have any occasion to treat you or any member of your family?
A Yes, sir.
Q Who and how frequently?
A Only once, sir. My second daughter had come home from Norfolk, Virginia. Her husband is in the Navy and I wanted her to have a physical and a pap smear.
COL ROCK: No further questions?
MR. SEGAL: I have nothing, else.
CPT SOMERS: Nothing by the government.
COL ROCK: Mrs. Evans, you are requested not to discuss your testimony with any other person outside of this hearing, other than counsel for the government or counsel for the accused. I assume, counsel, you request that she be permanently excused?
MR. SEGAL: Yes, sir, if she may be excused permanently.
COL ROCK: You're excused permanently. Thank you.