Friday, February 20, 2009

"Second Opinion" on Suicide Cases

This is interesting. It may serve a real need.

Nancy Ruhe, executive director of the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children…says that in cases in which a death is labeled a suicide but the family believes otherwise, her group offers what it calls a Second Opinion Service.

SOS will hire independent forensic pathologists, firearms experts and legal experts to investigate even further, Ruhe said…

Even when the research turns up nothing new and experts still label it a suicide, it still helps families, because they can know why, Ruhe added.

"Most police departments and medical examiners' offices, they don't explain that," she said. "They just rule it suicide. So you have all these unanswered questions."

Every one of our cases undergoes thorough investigation before cause and manner of death is assigned (for “inquest cases” this occurs after a full-staff case conference, now since the law changed). We do answer any questions family comes to us with, so while there are often many questions after a case is ruled suicide we can back that decision up with investigative evidence.

Suicide is often difficult to accept in a loved one, but it happens more often that most folks think.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Keller,

Your office and staff investigated the death of my child. Although my grief & sadness shall never leave me.

I shall be forever grateful for the care you gave to my son, & your patience with the many questions I have asked you.

Dr. Keller you go above and beyond your duty as our coroner. Your continuing "giving back" to our community to share your knowledge through this blog is one of much admiration.

With much respect to you & your staff I thank you.