Monday, January 28, 2013

Goldberg on the Acceptance of X-Rays as Medical Evidence

Daniel S. Goldberg, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioethics & Interdisciplinary Studies at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, has published The Transformative Power of X-Rays in U.S. Scientific & Medical Litigation: Mechanical Objectivity in Smith v. Grant (1896), Perspectives on Science 21, no. 1 (2013): 23-57.  Unfortunately, the paper cannot be posted on SSRN until six months after publication, but it is available now from the publisher.  Here is the abstract:
The paper locates the struggle to mobilize and regulate the immense social and cultural power inherent in X-rays’ capacity to remotely anatomize the living body power within the discursive space of the turn-of-the-century American courtroom. The paper pioneers use of extant court records in the seminal case of Smith v. Grant, the first American medical malpractice case in which an injured plaintiff successfully introduced X-ray evidence against a physician. The paper demonstrates how X-ray images catalyzed crucial changes in the American law of scientific and medical evidence and facilitated a novel regime for their regulation that continues to reverberate in the present.