Representing The Unknown

on Mar 30, 2020

At Trial Exhibits, we are sometimes called upon to illustrate general theories that do not have defined specifics. In such cases, an expert witness may have an overall opinion on what occurred without knowing exactly how it happened. This illustration of umbilical cord compression is a great example of this problem.

In this case involving a defect in fetal development, the OB-GYN expert was confident that the defect in this fetus occurred long before the delivery due to a compression of the umbilical cord resulting in a reduction of blood flow to the fetus. Regretfully, it was impossible to say how this umbilical cord compression occurred. Was the cord compressed between the shoulder and the anterior uterine wall? Was it compressed between the head and the cervix? The exact mechanism was unknown. The lack of these specifics does not change the validity of the theory, but it certainly makes it difficult to illustrate! That was the problem presented to Trial Exhibits.



Our solution is the exhibit you see here. An overall view of the fetus in-utero provides an appreciation of the body of the fetus and the surrounding uterine wall. When presenting this illustration, the expert was able to discuss how the cord could have become entrapped at a variety of sites within the womb and to discuss how the exact location was not important. Then he was able to point out the insets where we compared a section of a normal umbilical cord with a section of a cord being compressed. Even without showing the specific cause of the compression, we were able to clearly illustrate the consequence of this obstruction. The focus of the exhibit was to concentrate attention on that which was known while avoiding the issues that were not. In the end, our solution was successful.


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