By Peter Laird, MD
As the Lufkin DaVita murder trial winds down to its conclusion, it is interesting to follow the news reports as well as all of the comments at the end of most of KTRE's articles. In the last couple of days, there has been a bit of a debate over how accurate my "reporting" of the case has been. I would like to make a few clarifications. First, I am not a reporter. I am a medical doctor with a blog where I voice my own individual opinions of various issues. If you are looking for both sides of an issue as an unbiased news reporter, you will likely be disappointed since my opinions are mine alone. I do strive for accuracy and presenting the discussion clearly, but in the end, these are my opinions based on an extensive review of the medical issues involved in this case and should not be mistaken for news reports of any kind. Instead of viewing this as a news report, think of it instead as an opinion page since that is exactly what it is. In such I hope it is an informed opinion of not only the Lufkin DaVita murder trial as reported in the news to date, but all the issues that I comment about on HemoDoc.
J: Like I said before, unless you have sat through every session and heard evidence/testimony yourself, you really have no idea of the specifics of this trial. The jury will do it's job and whether we like it or not, we have to respect it. As far as hemodoc reporter, reading evidence and hearing/seeing evidence is two different things. I am sure he is a well educated man, however, his accounts of testimony and credibility of witnesses on stand cannot be accurate if he is not in the courtroom. The evidence is detailed, lengthy, scientific, confusing at times. All I am asking is that you respect the job the jury has to do, no matter what the outcome, based on what they have witnessed and not what is reported on this site.
Another issue is whether I have been in the court room and the answer is no, I have not gone to the Lufkin DaVita courtroom. Instead, I have reviewed the daily news accounts and during the course of the trial, I have limited my opinions only to that which has been publicly reported in the news. I did not during the trial venture beyond news reports to remain within the bounds of the information I already possessed but may not yet have been brought up in court. Obviously, being limited to the information available in the news is not the best way to comment on a trial, but it was all that was available during the trial and it was also all that was appropriate to comment on as well.
That being stated, the news reporting of this case from KTRE and Lufkin Daily News in my opinion was very biased against Kimberly Saenz. In addition, I have added sources to my opinion many of which were not included in the testimony but are well documented in the medical literature and easily found on the internet. I am not sure why that is not a valid manner in which to formulate an opinion of the medical issues discussed in this trial.
Unfortunately, the CDC did not in my opinion complete their task by establishing 3-chlorotyrosine levels in dialysis patients with heart attacks, pneumonia and cardiac arrest or sepsis nor in separating other causes of chlorine sources. Nor did they consider or discover the abnormal chlorine levels in the water that Deaton brought to light. So just sitting in the courtroom didn't give you all of the evidence of this case either. There is much more to this story that can't be told yet in part because of what the judge has disallowed. Hopefully same day that will be known as well.
59th Annual EIS Conference (page 24 of pdf flyer)
DONALD C. MACKEL MEMORIAL AWARD
Cardiac Events and Deaths in a Dialysis Facility Associated with a HealthcareProvider — Texas, 2008
Melissa K. Schaefer, C. Lucero, M. Sochaski, R. Kleiman, J. Su, M. Arduino, A.Kallen, M. Schwartz, P. Patel for the Texas Dialysis Investigation Team
I believe that the CDC has failed especially since they had over four years to prepare for this case. I do believe that Ryan Deaton has been able to elucidate the issues well and I believe that the jury will have the credible information to make an informed decision. I also believe that if Kimberly Saenz is innocent of all charges, then we must ask the question, who is responsible? I believe that the medical evidence provides that answer as well but that will be for the jury to determine.
For now, it is the jury's time to reflect on the evidence and then speak of their opinions of this case. Their opinion in the conclusion of this whole matter is all that will be relevant anyway. I believe that the trial has brought out the most important information for them to make an informed decision and that is sufficient for the task at hand. We await that judgement. How the jury will respond is impossible to predict at this time. There are many on boths sides of the equation hoping for the verdict they believe is correct. Once again, may God be the judge.