Saturday, November 23, 2013

Why You Need a Toxicology Expert Witness

In a nutshell, death investigation uses forensic toxicology to identify the cause of death. In this discipline, toxicologists usually study the concentration of substances ingested by a person and their effect to the body. Blood and hair samples are frequently used to detect the chemicals present in the system. In fact, a 10 ml blood sample is enough to verify the presence of a toxic substance. When it comes to hair samples, toxicologists would refer to the hair follicle as it is useful in determining medium to long-term substance abuse.

A deceased person's gastric contents may also show undigested substances that have been ingested before death. It is also possible to come up with a rough estimation on the time of death depending on the state of digestion of stomach contents.

A toxicology expert witness strengthens evidences when criminal cases are brought to court. They provide a detailed analysis of the substances found during the autopsy and even on the samples collected by the investigators. The outcome of the case largely depends on how accurate the interpretations are. Plaintiffs or defendants will have to seek the services of a toxicology expert witness to have reliable documentation needed for proper litigation. They may even ask the toxicologist to provide testimony before the court.

Friday, November 8, 2013

What is Forensic Toxicology?

The early 1800s and early 1900s are usually referred to by era historians as the “golden age of poisoning”. The incidence of poisoning was so high during the said period that scientists became driven to find antidotes or solutions, eventually giving birth the science of forensic toxicology. The tasks of forensic toxicologists include the examination of blood, tissue samples, and body fluids of a victim to determine if the cause of death was due to drugs or other poisonous substances.

Generally, forensic toxicology is a discipline in forensic science that focuses on the study of toxic substances. To be more specific, it involves the study of drugs, alcohol, and poisons, and their absorption, distribution, and effect to the human body. There are four disciplines under forensic toxicology, namely death investigation toxicology, human performance toxicology, doping control, and forensic workplace drug testing.

Death investigation toxicology focuses on identifying the role of alcohol, drugs, and poison as the cause of death of some people, and is typically practiced by pathologists and medical examiners. On the other hand, human performance toxicology tackles the effects of alcohol and drugs on the performance and behavior of humans.

Finally, doping control is frequently applied in the world of competitive sports as it assists in detecting the use of banned performance enhancing drugs by athletes. Forensic workplace drug testing is used to ensure that employees or workers are compliant with safety standards that strictly prohibit the use and abuse of illegal drugs or substances.