Southwest Life

Beyond the gore, autopsies hold lessons for us

It should be no surprise that most people, even most doctors in training, think autopsies are gory. The surprise to me is quite a few of my colleagues take offense when somebody says so. Dr. John...

DATE: July 13, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Death in the waiting room: Is it homicide?

John Verrier, a 30-year-old man who went to a Bronx, New York, hospital emergency room because of a skin rash, waited more than eight hours to see a doctor. A security guard found him “stiff, blue...

DATE: June 8, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

How to handle allegations of poisoning?

“Oh dear, oh dear ... our Dad is dead Yesterday, the will was read. Stepmother Jane got all the dough None of us liked her much, you know. Even though Dad was awfully sick We know she gave him...

DATE: May 11, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Neurochemistry shapes the tragic trajectory of a life

Nicole Leigh Redhorse was only 34 years old, and her 2007 death was a tragedy with elements of sex, murder and betrayal. Nicole was young, beautiful, brilliant, beloved and an alcoholic. Nicole’s...

DATE: April 13, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Drug addicts risk death every time they use

Philip Seymour Hoffman, described in The New York Times as “perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation,” died in a Greenwich Village apartment on Feb. 2 with a...

DATE: March 9, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

When sports kill, is it an accident or something else?

Richard Nieuwenhuizen, a 41-year-old volunteer linesman officiating at an amateur soccer game in the Netherlands, died in December 2012 after he was allegedly kicked in the head, neck and body by...

DATE: Feb. 8, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Doctors cheating on board exams? I don’t think so

CNN has reported doctors taking the examinations required for board certification in their specialties have been cheating on those tests for years. If they’re right about what constitutes cheating,...

DATE: Jan. 12, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

When a sudden lift in mood isn’t a positive sign

Years ago, when my friend Franz Kriwanek killed himself, I felt not only grief and loss but a great sense of failure. Franz was an artist and an accomplished potter. Born in Austria, he was...

DATE: Dec. 8, 2013 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

When suicide isn’t: Cultures interpret death differently

Dr. Keith Campbell, the British scientist whose research in cell biology led to the 1996 cloning of Dolly the sheep, died at 58. A clone is a fully functioning, living copy created from a single...

DATE: Nov. 10, 2013 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Court right to fine UNM regents for intimidation

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the New Mexico Court of Appeals has upheld a $100,000 sanction levied against the regents of the University of New Mexico for witness intimidation. The...

DATE: Oct. 12, 2013 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

What’s proper burial for an aborted fetus?

Medical examiners have to decide the cause and manner of death when somebody dies under their jurisdiction. That’s not all they have to decide. Sometimes, they have to decide whether to allow...

DATE: Sept. 8, 2013 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

From beginning to end, Mom was my best friend

As a kid, I was a loner. I don’t recall much teasing or bullying, just isolation. I wished for friends, but my interests (anything to do with science) were so different from the interests of most...

DATE: Aug. 11, 2013 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report