Why do toxicology results take so long?

Toxicology deals with the study of poisons or toxic substances.  These substances are examined in terms of their harmful effects, their nature, and possible detection.  Tests in toxicology may involve those who are still alive and those who are already dead.  Either way, test results are usually completed from a period of several days up to several months depending on the case involved.  This is what frustrates people because results do not come out immediately.  Instead, toxicology testing may take as long as several months to complete.

Toxicology done on live subjects is termed as clinical toxicology, and this usually involves some kind of drug testing.  This kind of testing is commonly done for individuals involved in possible drug abuse.  Clinical toxicology may also be carried out to find out the nature and effect of a poison on an individual.  Forensic toxicology, meanwhile, involves a longer process involving dead people.  The process of getting samples from a dead body is time consuming which explains why results aren’t available immediately.

Forensic toxicology testing may involve getting samples through the urine and blood of a dead person.  There are also cases that tissue samples are removed from various parts of the body including major organs such as the brain, liver, and the kidneys.  The process of testing involves multiple body parts, and so it will  take time just to take samples from each part.  These samples will also go through a series of lab tests and analysis which further prolongs the process.

Other people also point out that backlogs are common when talking about toxicology results.  There aren’t that many experts in this particular field, and so only a few people are able to handle cases for toxicology testing.  Delays may also result from the fact that some toxicology experts are summoned to legal courts to testify on specific cases.  When these experts are in the courts, it simply means that their testing will also take the back seat leading to a further delay in producing the results. Toxicology is an important science that needs to be processed properly for accurate results no matter how long it takes.

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