Thursday, February 3, 2011

Death Investigations: Incompetence, Negligence, Tragic Mistakes

This excellent and disturbing Frontline documentary exposes the deplorable state of death investigations around the United States. Incompetent, inattentive pathologists, whose performance is never scrutinized, work for medical examiner offices whose accuracy and adherence to professional standards is never reviewed or accredited. People with no medical education or skills are employed as medical examiners. While numerous medical examiner offices are portrayed, considerable attention is given to terrible mistakes in Sonoma County and elsewhere in California.

This relates to the focus of this blog in two ways: First, one of the distressing implications of incompetent death investigations is the potential for wrongful convictions. And second, considering the high incidence of inmate deaths, the concern is that deaths resulting from negligence (or worse) of correctional personnel will go undetected.

Props to Crystal Ratliff for the link.

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