The medical community’s resentment toward these experts was evident at Friday’s Florida Board of Medicine disciplinary hearing in Tampa. Board members rejected a recommendation to reprimand a doctor who fraudulently listed expert witness qualifications, and instead unanimously voted to revoke his license to practice medicine.
Florida recently placed stricter regulations on medical expert witnesses with the signing of two bills into law; this comes as a result of many cases being decided due to the opinions of people who didn’t specialize in the fields in question. First, House Bill 7015 amends the preferred standard in providing expert testimony in medical cases. Second, Senate Bill 1792 requires the legitimate medical expert witness to be in the same specialty as the nature of the case in question.
A toxicology report by a third expert indicated that Blumenschein’s acute severe metabolic acidosis “more likely than not” was due to ethylene glycol poisoning.
Thankfully, the victim in this particular case survived, and his testimony against the accused can count as a vital piece of evidence. However, what about those victims who weren’t able to survive similar atrocities done to them? In these cases, their families and loved ones can rely on expert forensic toxicology practitioners in their fight for justice.
A highly qualified forensic toxicologist like Dr. Nachman Brautbar thoroughly examines every piece of evidence obtained from crime scenes for poisons, such as hair, fibers, and blood using state-of-the-art equipment. Unlike in TV shows, the process of scrutinizing them is meticulous so that nothing is missed and accurate results are produced. Afterward, they can provide an unbiased and comprehensive report of their findings.
Environmental toxicology: those two words may sound rather intimidating and scary to some people. Yet because of that field, its specialists, the environmental toxicologists, can do things that the average person can’t readily do on a whim. So, what exactly do environmental toxicologists do to help the environment?
For one, environmental toxicologists can examine our atmosphere. For the past 40 years, some of these specialists have been focusing on man-made pollutants and their effects on our surroundings. They monitor the pollution levels, and its impact on human and animal life. Some of them have also found a connection between these pollutants and cancer.
In the same vein, environmental toxicologists also examine how chemicals speed up the emergence of cancers like leukemia, lymphomas, and melanoma. They investigate cases of cancers reportedly caused by chemicals including asbestos, pesticides, and solvents. Some of them even become activists to push for laws that regulate these chemicals and promote safety.
Some environmental toxicologists have also become expert witnesses to support or refute medical evidence. With their knowledge and training, these specialists also examine individuals affected by certain ailments, read medical reports, and test soil or water samples that may have affected these individuals. Through them, people can find the cause of their ailments and address them promptly.
“Hair analysis isn’t really a new method in forensic toxicology. Its first recorded use was in the 1850s when a case was solved because of traces of arsenic found in the hair of the corpse that was exhumed 11 years after the time of death. However, there are a host of chemicals that human hair is exposed to these days, especially from cosmetic products. To prevent these chemicals from affecting the findings, professionals in the field usually take them into account when interpreting the results.
Even then, toxicology testings can take a long time due to various reasons, like specimen quality and the nature of the chemicals to be tested. There is also the simple fact that working with hair strands is very different from analyzing urine and blood samples.
A competent forensic toxicologist such as Dr. Nachman Brautbar are needed now more than ever as technology improves and crimes become more complex. More than being able to perform drug testing, their expertise is needed in showi
The film Erin Brokovich shows the real-life events of how the titular character and her attorney-employer convinced residents of Hinkley, CA to sue Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for damages. This is because many Hinkley residents suffered illnesses that were later attributed to PG&E’s negligence. The movie concluded with PG&E settling the case for $333 million, the largest settlement in U.S. history for a direct action lawsuit.
That time, Brokovich investigated and found that residents suffered from illnesses due to hexavalent chromium – now a recognized carcinogen – in their drinking water. Further investigation revealed that PG&E’s compressor station in Hinkley used water that contained hexavalent chromium. However, the water was stored in unlined ponds that severely contaminated soil and water wells near the station.
While Brovokich connected the residents’ illnesses to PG&E’s use of contaminated water, help was needed to establish that connection. For that, a forensic toxicologist was called in to examine the residents and to study the issue of chromium poisoning. Through caring treatment and meticulous testing, the toxicologist showed a material connection that was later used in the case.
Essentially, Brokovich’s investigation unearthed clues that needed an educated and experienced medical professional to solve them. Through the toxicologist’s assistance, Brokovich, her employer, and the Hinkley residents effectively demonstrated their case against PG&E.
“These are the kinds of things that toxicologists like Dr. Nachman Brautbar MD deal with on a regular basis. Aside from pollutants, they also analyze pesticides, plastic materials, solvents, and even gasoline (especially in an oil spill) for toxicity. It is the job of toxicologists to accurately pinpoint the causes and effects of environmental diseases to humans, animals, and plants, as well as help shed light on environmental issues such as global warming.
For instance, recent environmental toxicology research now establish that reducing the amount of sulfur dioxide on the planet, which is one of the causes of global warming, can actually make things worse. This compound plays an important role in cooling the planet’s surface; removing it from the atmosphere will allow more sunlight and heat to enter the Earth. The best thing that can be done is to regulate, rather than completely neutralize, sulfur dioxide levels like putting high taxes on greenhouse gas emissions so that industr