“He uses statistics like a drunk uses lamp-posts, more for support than illumination…” ~Romano Prodi
“(Attorney B.J. Branch) acknowledged that Jasmin had been drinking on the day of the accident but said he had only consumed one 16-ounce Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and was at or below the legal limit for intoxication. He added that because of Jasmin’s serious blood loss, the blood alcohol test may not have been accurate.” -Concord Monitor, 7/20/11
If one reads attorney Branch’s comment to the monitor at face value, you might just have the initial reaction that I had: “I think this attorney is full of crap.” The comment on its face suggests that Jasmin’s blood alcohol concentration cannot be effectively measured because he had experienced significant blood loss immediately after his fall.
Blood Alcohol Concentration measured is always the current and existing level in the blood at the time of a serological draw. BAC refers to the percent of alcohol in a person’s blood stream. For example, a BAC of .10% means that the individual’s blood supply contains one part alcohol for every 1000 parts blood. That is the alcohol concentration existing in the blood stream at the proximal time of the draw. If a person consumed another several alcoholic beverages only minutes prior to the draw, that alcohol content has a higher probability of not being reflected in a test.
Another factor in BAC testing is What is tested. Whole blood being composed of cellular material, plasma and fibrinogen, medical facilities test serum or plasma. Where blood draws for medical purposes are concerned for presence of alcohol a whole blood test, is concerned with concentration. Consequently, if one vial of blood is drawn from an individual and tested, irrespective of blood loss, the BAC will be reflected in said test. Attributing blood loss to skewing a BAC test is mere sandbagging and does not stand up to the prevailing and contemporary science. Although, I’ll concede to the notion that any Lawyer can retain a serologist (for the right price) to say otherwise. But that still won’t make it so.
But, Attorney Branch is not all wet in his logic, just in his details. It would not be even-handed of me if I failed to mention that if Jasmin was administered Intravenous Salines as part of his treatment, the presence of those would likely skew the BAC content to Jasmin’s favor. It would be analogous to pouring tonic water into a shot of scotch.
When we talk about how much alcohol Jasmin consumed prior to hunting where the object goal is to not make that a mitigating factor, have we as a hunting community met our goal in discouraging the comingling of alcohol consumption with hunting weapons? I think we have. There will always be those among us who make poor choices. Jasmin is no different in that end. But, ask any Hunter Education Instructor, Hunter, or Conservation Officer what their view is on having a drink or two and then going afield, the answer is likely to be a disapproving one. And when the William Jasmin’s in society do what they do, and there is an adverse consequence, we all are given a black eye. Ah, but if your an attorney, no payday comes from caring about such matters. But don’t go to the newsmedia, piss in our ear and then tell us its raining, either.