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Opinion: The real key to the Chauvin verdict

April 7, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.7%. 1 min read.

Understanding the complicated medical terms used by expert witnesses may be crucial to following the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, writes forensic pathologist Dr. Judy Melinek.

The defense will likely argue that the main cause of Floyd's hypoxia was not Chauvin's knee, but Floyd's heart disease, compounded by a fentanyl overdose.

The likely defense case is that the fentanyl found in Floyd's system caused his breathing to slow so much that it killed him.

The medical examiner's report and prosecution say the primary cause of Floyd's asphyxia appears to be neck compression by Chauvin, as seen on the bystander video, though the other officers pressing down on Floyd's chest and limbs may have played a part, too.

The medical examiner's report indicates that Floyd's heart and lungs stopped working when he was subdued and restrained.

The defense will try to argue that Floyd's heart was enlarged due to high blood pressure and had severe narrowing of its arteries, and that those conditions caused cardiorespiratory arrest.

The defense is using the high carbon dioxide in Floyd's blood as an indicator that a fentanyl overdose had stopped him breathing properly.

This is may be one reason why Floyd's heart disease was not considered the primary cause of death by the medical examiner.

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