Tuesday, February 27, 2007

“Activist” Coroner

We are at it again. Treading where we think we ought, to best “serve” those that die in our county and their survivors.

In a recent investigation it appeared that the prior investigation was “incomplete” and so we were compelled to intervene. It involved an individual severely injured in another jurisdiction, who ultimately died in Lake County. Our ruling at “case review” will be homicide. In reviewing the police investigation done at the time of the injuries it appeared to us that the investigation was disjointed and certain facts and statements had not been given the attention that they merited. We arranged a meeting between our office, our pathologist and an official of the investigating police department. My deputy pointed out things we saw in the records of the investigation, had our pathologist discuss how the severity of the injuries went along with our interpretation of the information available and strongly recommended that they reopen their investigation. After asking if they thought they could use some help from the state police, they decided to reopen their investigation. It is now a work in progress.

Another recent investigation raised several questions for us about the care and interventions a dying person received and/or ought to have received. Because of those concerns we contacted an oversight agency in whose jurisdiction those actions fall and have prompted an investigation on their part. That investigation should result in improved care, which is our goal in reporting the incident.

We take these actions because it is the right thing to do. As our mission statement says:”…we serve those who can no longer serve themselves…” (We speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves.) And we work “…to help prevent deaths in similar circumstance.”

Note: to the media that read this blog, I cannot discuss the particulars in these cases as the investigations are ongoing and the results might be skewed by such reporting.

Note 2: Mr. King: Yes, I am “addicted” to quotation marks, particularly for emphasis. Thanks for your input; I shudder to think what my English teachers would think of my writing (of course, it was over 35 years ago that I last sat in an English class, so they might not be reading this).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just trying to help. Or should I say, just "trying" to "help".