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New Mexico Trial Court Upholds Admissibility of Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)
by: Bruce H. Stern of Stark & Stark  -  Stark & Stark Newsroom
Monday, March 18, 2024

In a recent judicial ruling that adds to the growing body of case law affirming the legal acceptance of advanced medical imaging techniques, the court once again endorsed the admissibility of Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) as a credible method for diagnosing traumatic brain injuries. This particular verdict was rendered in the context of the litigation Herrera v. Prestige Equipment Rentals, case number No. D-504-CV-2021-00538, adjudicated by the 5th Judicial District Court of New Mexico on February 29, 2024.

In this case, the defendant sought to challenge the credibility of expert testimony provided by Dr. William Hwang, who had employed DTI to ascertain the plaintiff’s condition. Dr. Hwang’s examination revealed that the plaintiff had suffered a traumatic brain injury, attributing 30% to 40% of his diagnostic conclusion to the DTI findings that were considered abnormal. The defense’s motion aimed to exclude Dr. Hwang’s testimony and the DTI evidence on grounds questioning the reliability of this imaging technique.

However, the court decisively rejected the defendant’s motion to exclude this expert testimony. In its ruling, the court explicitly recognized MRI-DTI as a “sufficiently reliable means to diagnose traumatic brain injury.” This judgment aligns with the precedent established by numerous other courts, which the plaintiffs referenced to support their argument. The court’s decision not only underscored the credibility of DTI in the medical diagnostic arena but also reinforced its legal admissibility as evidence in cases involving claims of traumatic brain injury.

This ruling from the Herrera v. Prestige Equipment Rentals case stands as a significant testament to the evolving acceptance of DTI in the judicial system. It further confirms the technique’s role in enhancing the accuracy of diagnoses concerning traumatic brain injuries, thereby offering substantial support for the presentation and substantiation of related legal claims.

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