Patrick J. Silva - Attorney at Law
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Blood Hematocrit Affect Blood BAC
Welcome back to the DUI Trial Lawyers Academy. This podcast is brought to you by SilvaandSilvalaw.com, great lawyers helping great people. And now for your host, sought after speaker, avid mountain bike racer, and renowned DUI trial lawyer, Patrick Silva.
Welcome back to The DUI Trial Lawyers Academy. This is your host DUI trial lawyer Patrick Silva. In today's podcast, we're going to be discussing something called hematocrit. In its simplest term, hematocrit is the number of red blood cells that you have in your blood. It's based on a ratio and it's expressed in the size and numbers of the red blood cells in proportion to the rest of your red blood. I know it sounds like a mouthful and a sounds like a lot, but how can this really help you? I'm going to jump ahead and explain the end result and then I'll go through the studies, but just short order, when you're taking on a state lab tech and they have training, they will understand hematocrit and its effect on the human body and actually the effect on the blood or breath result.
When we break it down to its simplest form, there's a range and the hematocrit can affect the ultimate blood or breath by 10-14%. thinking about that, what does that mean? If you have a 0.10 case, obviously 10% gets you down to an 0.9. So, let's go through some of the studies that discuss this and what we're actually talking about.
First, there's a hematocrit ratio in humans, healthy humans, and it ranges from 40.7% to 50% in men. So, let's just say 40-50%. And then in women, it's 36.1 to 44.3 in women. Different things can affect your hematocrit level. If you're sick, altitude, and believe it or not how much your body has water-wise, hydration. When we're talking about hematocrit, we have to look at, what else does it affect? So, if we break it down into another simple idea or theme, the hematocrit ratio, it's going to govern how much alcohol may be contained in your blood and in turn, how much will pass into your breath.
So, it's very important. You could use an hematocrit theme on a cross in both your blood and in your breath cases. Let me get to a couple articles you probably should at least have in your arsenal. The author is Dominic Labianca, the article's called "The chemical basis of the Breathalyzer", and that's in the Journal of Chemistry and Education Volume 76, number three, on page 261. There's another good article, it's called "Distribution of Ethanol between Plasma and Erythrocytes and Whole Blood", and that's by JP Payne.
So think of it this way, the higher the hematocrit ratio, or your hematocrit number, i.e., the concentration, the lower amount of water you're going to actually have in your blood and vice versa. So, higher hematocrit means less water, lower hematocrit means more water, and it affects the ultimate blood result. Well, what does that mean? Well, ethanol, i.e., the alcohol your client drank actually dissolves almost entirely in the aqueous component of the blood. Okay, i.e., the water portion.
If you took two different people, and let's say that their actual BAC was exactly the same, but these two different people had different hematocrit levels, well, guess what? You're going to expect to get two different breathalyzer results. Hopefully the state expert you're crossing is going to be able to recognize and have read these articles, and if they've gone to any type of stress study or training, they're going to at least have heard about it. So, you're going to design your cross in a way, if they haven't heard about it, then you'll put forth the ideas and say, "Well, do you have any proof that these ideas are not supported by the science?"
So just as a recap, the higher hematocrit level means the lower blood water concentration, i.e., you're going to have a higher blood alcohol concentration. The lower the hematocrit, the higher the water concentration, and you'll have a lower blood alcohol concentration.
Hopefully this has helped. This might be getting into the weeds on some of the discussions, but if you're an authority in the courtroom and the jurors are looking at you to understand that, "Hey, these numbers represented in the breath and in the blood are scientifically based and they have to prove their scientific results", then you need to know this stuff. All right, so this is your DUI trial lawyer Patrick Silva. You know what to do, put on the boxing gloves, get in the ring, and have an awesome fight. Over and out. Bye.
Thank you for listening to the DUI Trial Lawyers Podcast. This episode brought to you by SilvaandSilvalaw.com.
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