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Silicosis doctors testify VIII: the George Martindale letter

Today's Wall Street Journal ($) has an editorial on the grand jury investigation. Alabama doctor George Martindale (Dec. 21), who diagnosed 3,617 plaintiffs with silicosis in 48 days, apparently wrote in a letter to Texas attorney Billy H. Davis, Jr.:

"I was soon contacted by you [Mr. Davis]. You said you wanted to retain me as an expert witness before the deposition. I declined. During this conversation, I learned that you had cited me as the diagnosing physician in certain silicosis cases. I told you that I personally had made no diagnoses, that I had not examined any of the patients, and that I had only determined whether the readings were consistent with the disease previously diagnosed. Your response was 'I certainly would hate to hear you say that at your deposition.'"

I'm a little more skeptical than the Wall Street Journal about Martindale's attempt to clear his name. His reports each included the following sentence:

On the basis of the medical history review, which is inclusive of a significant occupational exposure to silica dust, physical exam and the chest radiograph, the diagnosis of silicosis is established within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

In his deposition, which took place one year ago Saturday, Martindale admitted that he did not know the criteria for making a diagnosis of silicosis, that he knew this language was false, but that the N&M Screening Company requested it to be included, and he "acquiesced." I've posted George Martindale's deposition transcript at the AEI Liability Project site: take a look at pages 101-103 (page 45-46 in the pdf).

Previous entries in the series.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.