Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of chemical substances on living organisms, including humans. Toxicologists investigate the mechanisms of toxic effects, evaluate the risks and benefits of chemical exposures, and develop strategies to minimize harmful effects. There are two categories of toxicologists: medical (MD) toxicologists and PhD toxicologists. They share some common areas of expertise, but there are significant differences in their training, responsibilities and career paths.
“What exactly is a medical toxicologist?” I have been asked this question by physicians and attorneys alike. The technical answer is that medical toxicology is a subspecialty officially recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The American College of Medical Toxicology defines it as the field of medicine dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of poisoned and envenomated patients. This includes the adverse health effects of medications, occupational and environmental toxins, and biological agents.
During the course of our nearly 15 years in the business, we’ve provided attorneys with consulting and testifying experts in over a hundred fields of expertise for many different types of litigation. From time to time a particular litigation area gets “hot,” which leads to attorneys requesting experts in particular specialties for an unusually high number of cases. For example, there was a period of about 3 years a while back when we provided experts for dozens of asbestos cases.
Dr. Stephen L. Thornton is one of our top experts specializing in emergency medicine and medical toxicology. He consistently receives the highest praise from both plaintiff and defense attorneys.