Facts from the courtroom
June 2, 2022

Dr. Bithoney’s testimony confirms that Flint Water Crisis was in full effect long before VNA ever arrived in Flint

On May 16, May 31 and June 1, 2022, the jury heard from Dr. William Bithoney, a paid witness for the plaintiffs with a long history of working for the plaintiffs’ attorneys. 

Dr. Bithoney has never met or interacted with any of the four plaintiffs. He reached his conclusions based on the reports of Dr. Mira Krishnan and Aaron Specht, whose bone lead scans have not been approved for use on humans and are the subject of significant controversy within the medical community. 

Dr. Bithoney’s primary conclusion is that exposure to lead caused the plaintiffs’ mild neurocognitive disorders diagnosed by Dr. Krishnan, who spent a total of one hour with each plaintiff. Dr. Bithoney admitted on the stand that the children were exposed to lead from the Flint River water for nearly a year before VNA even arrived in the city, indicating that there is no plausible basis to conclude that VNA had any role in causing the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries. 

In fact, Dr. Bithoney’s testimony further confirmed that the Flint Water Crisis was in full effect long before VNA ever arrived in Flint, and that government officials bear sole responsibility for the harm inflicted upon the people of Flint. 

Here’s what you need to know.

Dr. Bithoney relies on the dubious findings of Dr. Mira Krishnan and Aaron Specht in order to reach his conclusions.

  • Despite acknowledging that blood lead testing is the “standard” for evaluating lead exposure, Dr. Bithoney relied on the controversial findings of the bone lead testing program run by Aaron Specht to conclude that the plaintiffs experienced significant lead exposure. 
  • The portable devices Specht used to measure plaintiffs’ lead exposure were never intended to be used on humans and have not been approved by the FDA. Moreover, Specht’s tests do not adhere to standard scientific protocols, have not been validated by third-party experts, and have a high error rate according to Specht’s own research. 
  • Leading public health officials, including Flint Drs. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Lawrence Reynolds, have sounded the alarm on bone lead testing as unreliable and potentially harmful to humans, and especially children, due to exposure to high doses of radiation.
  • Because he did not meet with any of the plaintiffs himself, Dr. Bithoney likewise relies on the diagnoses of Dr. Krishnan, who met with each plaintiff for a brief period in a law office – not a medical setting – in 2020. 
  • Dr. Krishnan’s diagnoses are not uncommon within the general population, and she admitted on the stand that, because she only met plaintiffs in 2020 (more than six years after the crisis), she had no baseline from which to assess the plaintiffs before and after the Flint Water Crisis.

Dr. Bithoney failed to consider alternative sources of lead exposure experienced by the plaintiffs. 

  • Dr. Bithoney never investigated the plaintiffs’ specific residential homes to determine alternative sources of lead exposure, such as paint, dust or soil. 
  • He also did not investigate any of the respective plaintiffs’ pipe composition or water lead levels to determine the likelihood of them being exposed to enough lead to cause lasting harm.
  • Dr. Bithoney admitted not having any information about the level of lead content in the tap water for any home associated with any particular plaintiff during the period where Flint was sourced by the Flint River. 

Neither Dr. Bithoney, nor the studies he relies upon, can show the plaintiffs’ lead exposure level caused their alleged injuries 

  • Dr. Bithoney admitted that none of the four plaintiffs had blood lead levels that would require further medical intervention. His reliance on bone lead measurements to prove injury is flawed because there is no benchmark identifying the relationship between bone lead levels and adverse health effects. 
  • Dr. Bithoney failed to offer any scientific basis for his opinion that low-level exposure to lead can cause the conditions diagnosed by Dr. Krishnan, such as mild ADHD, mild mood disorder, and mild neurocognitive disorder. 
  • He also never independently identified or diagnosed any conditions, cognitive deficits, or negative cognitive complications beyond those specifically identified by Dr. Krishnan.