The gunshot injuries to Racquel Smith, the wife of slain former Saints lineman Will Smith, were listed at University Medical Center as the result of an "accidental discharge of a gun." But three hospital staffers testified Tuesday that there appeared to be no basis for that designation, suggesting it was a coding error.
An occupational therapist, an orthopedic resident and Dr. John Hunt, the hospital's trauma medical director, all testified that they didn't enter that code into the system. Hunt said that nothing in Racquel Smith's medical record, or in his memory, supported the "accidental" determination.
"This is not a doctor's thing. I deal with diagnoses and procedures. This is an e-code," Hunt said. "I can find no place in the medical record that supports that code."
A doctor and an occupational therapist at University Medical Center will testify at a hearin…
Attorneys for Cardell Hayes requested the hearing in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, aiming to seize on the computer classification as they prepare to argue that Hayes deserves a new trial for the April 9 killing of Will Smith and the shooting of Racquel.
At Hayes' trial in early December, prosecutors with District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office argued that what Hayes did that night was far from an accident.
They said Hayes fired a single shot that struck Racquel Smith in both legs and unloaded eight shots with a .45-caliber handgun into Will Smith after a three-car collision sparked a volatile altercation in the Lower Garden District.
Both sides are set to deliver their closing arguments in the murder trial of Cardell Hayes o…
Hayes' attorneys had those medical records during the trial but never brought them up.
A jury convicted Hayes of manslaughter for gunning down the former NFL All-Pro and attempted manslaughter for shooting Racquel Smith.
Hayes, a 29-year-old New Orleans tow truck driver, appeared in court Tuesday clean-shaven and with a close-cropped haircut.
He awaits sentencing in two weeks. He faces a minimum of 20 years on the manslaughter count, which includes an enhancement for the use of a firearm, and a maximum of 40 years on that charge. He also faces up to 20 years on the attempted manslaughter count.
Cardell Hayes will appeal his conviction on manslaughter and attempted manslaughter charges …
Tuesday's hearing appeared to be directed not so much at influencing Hayes' sentence, which is up to Judge Camille Buras, but rather to bolster an argument that his conviction was flawed.
Hayes' attorneys are expected to file a motion seeking to toss out his convictions shortly before his March 27 sentencing date.
John Fuller, Hayes' lead attorney, called Andrea Lott, an occupational therapist, who testified that she didn't enter the "accidental" code and didn't know who did.
Dr. Stephen Thon, a third-year orthopedic resident who also treated Racquel Smith, said, "If that's in the chart, I didn't put it there."
Thon said he never spoke to Racquel Smith about her shooting, and Lott also said the victim never told her she was shot accidentally.
Hunt called it "just an information code" that has nothing to do with treatment. "It's not a diagnosis. I'm not sure why they put it there," he said.
Hunt said he couldn't recall exactly what Racquel Smith told him when she arrived following the late-night shooting on Sophie Wright Place.
"Going from memory, I think it was just, 'I was shot,' " he said, but "that was about 900 gunshot wounds ago."