Thursday, October 31, 2013

Florida Tightens Medical Expert Witness Requirements with Two New Laws

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.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How Forensic Toxicology Professionals Can Help Victims Seek Justice

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.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Toxicology Expert Witness Can Affect Case Outcome

In a companion case of Exxon Mobil v. Ford et al, both sides must have been nervous when a toxicology expert witness testified. After all, $1.65 billion in compensation was at stake. Although the toxicology expert was just one of the many experts called at that time, his testimony surely have contributed to the outcome of the case.

As a background: dozens of Jacksonville, MD households had sued Exxon Mobil for an undetected gas leak from one of its service stations that contaminated water wells in the area. The households filed two lawsuits against Exxon Mobil, including the $1.65 billion companion case. After the oil company lost both cases, they elevated them to the Maryland Court of Appeals.

In a legal case involving chemicals, a toxicology expert is generally called in to support or refute any evidence presented. He or she examines affected individuals, reviews medical reports, and works with legal authorities, among others. In this case, the toxicology expert recommended annual tests for certain ailments that costs up to $2,000 per year for each respondent.

However, the Maryland Court of Appeals also found that the “expert testimony generalized that all Respondents faced a significantly increased risk of developing a future disease, without providing individual assessments of any Respondent.” That finding partly contributed to the Court’s reversing the decision of the $1.65 billion companion case and sending it back to the lower court for a new trial. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

How Forensic Toxicology Can Help Solve Crimes Using Only Hair Strands

"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

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Entering the Odd and Exciting World of Forensics

The world is full of jobs that only a certain type of people can handle: jobs that involve intricacies and require a keen interest in research before professionals could be qualified to perform extraordinary duties. One of these jobs is forensic toxicology.

There are not too many people who enter the world of forensics because of its very demanding nature. For one to become a toxicologist, a student should have a genuine interest in science, especially in clinical and analytical chemistry and pharmacology. One should also have the courage to cut open a cadaver and get in contact with all types of bodily fluids like blood, urine, and saliva, among others.

The student will also be exposed to practically all internal organs, as there will be times when tissue samples need to be obtained or extracted from the brain, liver, and eyes, to name a few. A forensic toxicologist's job is crucial, as the data they gather are important pieces of a crime puzzle. They are expected to provide reliable interpretation of laboratory results with regards to the presence of toxic chemicals on the deceased and their possible effects on the body.

Forensics is an exciting career path and becoming a toxicologist is one way of entering a world of gathering evidence, finding clues, and solving mysteries.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Environmental Toxicology: Recent Discoveries on Chemicals in the Air

"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