Chapter 7 : Obtaining Experimental Evidence

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This chapter relates a few situations in which the author was actively involved in the generation of experimental results pertinent to a case. One such instance was a product liability case concerning an intrauterine device in which a large number of plaintiffs claimed that the device had caused them to develop an infection and to become infertile. The question was about the tail string of the device which remained in the vagina when the device was in place in the uterus and whether vaginal bacteria could ascend into the uterus via the tail string. The author participated with bioengineers in conducting experiments to test this assumption and the results were published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. On another occasion, the author was asked to participate in the gathering of potentially useful evidence, which dealt with a child with asthma who developed a pulmonary infection thought to have resulted from the use of an inhaler product possibly contaminated by the manufacturer. The parents of the child had retained an unopened bottle of the product, which they had kept for about five years. This bottle was mailed to the author, which was then subsequently mailed to a laboratory to test if bacteria were present. The result of the investigation concluded that the bottle of inhalant was proved to be sterile. The author concludes that in these and similar investigations, it is important to maintain a strict chain of custody of evidence.

Citation: Ellner P. 2006. Obtaining Experimental Evidence, p 23-24. In The Biomedical Scientist as Expert Witness. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816520.ch7
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