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October 12, 1957


Author Affiliations

Michigan Department of Health Lansing, Mich.

JAMA. 1957;165(6):726. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980240084028

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To the Editor:—  The paper "Erroneous Blood Alcohol Findings at Autopsy" by Trukel and Gifford (J. A. M. A.164:1077-1079 [July 6] 1957) raises several interesting medicolegal questions. 1. It points up a fallacy of interpretation which is commonly made by attorneys but which is less frequently made by medical scientists, that the blood alcohol level which indicates intoxication is 0.15%. In the courtroom there is a tendency on the part of attorneys to believe that all persons having 0.15% or more alcohol in their blood are drunk, whereas those having 0.14% or less are sober. The report of the A. M. A. Committee to Study Problems of Motor Vehicle Accidents (Organization Section, J. A. M. A.124:1290 [April 29] 1944) establishes a "floor" value of 0.05% in the blood below which it may be fairly presumed that no one is under the influence of alcohol, and a

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