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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: The jury convicted Kenneth Joe Presswood of recklessly, by omission, causing serious bodily injury to an elderly person, a second degree felony. The trial court assessed appellant’s punishment at confinement for eight years and a $10,000 fine. The trial court suspended the confinement portion of the sentence and placed appellant on community supervision for eight years. HOLDING: Affirmed. Appellant admitted on numerous occasions that he did not obtain medical help for Mrs. Presswood because he wanted to continue his nutritional program. The trial court’s role is to act as a “gatekeeper” by admitting only expert testimony that will help the trier of fact understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). A proponent of expert evidence must show, by clear and convincing evidence, that the evidence proffered was sufficiently relevant and reliable to assist the jury in reaching accurate results. Relevant testimony is testimony that ties scientific principles to the facts of the case. Reliable testimony derived from scientific theory must satisfy three criteria: 1. the underlying scientific theory must be valid; 2. the technique applying the theory must be valid; and 3. the technique must have been properly applied. Reliability of testimony based on training and experience is subject to less stringent standards. In such cases, the questions to answer are: 1. whether the field of expertise is a legitimate one; 2. whether the subject matter of the expert’s testimony is within the scope of that field; and 3. whether the expert’s testimony properly relies upon and utilizes the principles involved in that field. Dr. Steven Wayne Hines, N.D. testified that he was a naturopathic doctor and had clinics in Acuna, Mexico; San Angelo; Lubbock; Abilene; and Durango, Colorado. He received his doctorate in naturopathic medicine from the Herbal Healer Academy of Naturopathic Medicine in Mountain View, Arkansas. Before receiving his degree in naturopathy, Hines had practiced naturopathic medicine for six years under several different medical doctors. Hines testified that, because Texas does not have a State Board of Naturopathy, he could not “put substances into the veins of [his] patients” in Texas. Hines stated that he has about 600 patients. He also explained the differences between naturopathic medicine and “mainstream or allopathic medicine.” It is the belief of naturopaths that diseases are a result of toxic exposure to chemicals and solvents as well as nutritional deficiencies and gastric disturbances. Naturopaths use natural elements to detoxify the body and control the patient’s diet. Hines testified that he had lectured on the subject of naturopathy in various settings and had also written several articles and books. Specifically, he had lectured on herbal organic medicine. Hines testified that there were hundreds of studies done all over the United States pertaining to naturopathy. While he could discuss the nature and some results of one specific test, Hines was unable to testify as to where the study took place, where the findings were published, as well as the name of the study. Hines could not identify any of the names of the tests conducted in relation to naturopathic medicine or where they were conducted, and he only gave general results of the tests. He recalled one journal article relating to naturopathy that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine but did not know when it was published or the name of the study. Also, a copy of the journal was not entered into evidence. Hines testified that he was able to see beneficial results from naturopathic treatment in his patients. He further testified that naturopathic medicine could be chosen as a form of treatment because of religious convictions or bad past experiences with conventional medicine. Hines testified that he never saw Mrs. Presswood, the victim, that he only talked to appellant on the phone about her care, and that he recommended some nutritional supplements. Dr. Hines also talked to Mrs. Presswood’s treating physician at the hospital about some of his recommendations for her treatment. Hines told the jury about the benefits of each nutritional supplement that was on the list of supplements that appellant gave to his mother. However, he did not give details as to the specific effects the 11 nutritional supplements had on Mrs. Presswood, and he stressed that he never saw her. He reviewed the medical records but did not know how the supplements affected Mrs. Presswood. Hines also testified that appellant indicated to him that he did not want his mother to go to the hospital at all costs and that, finally, appellant took his mother to the hospital because he was unable to care for her anymore. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it excluded Hines’ testimony. OPINION: Wright, J.; Arnot, C.J., and Wright and McCall, JJ.

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