Position: Coroner’'s Report

Email: chuser@durangoherald.com

Coroner's Report

About: Dr. Carol J. Huser, a forensic pathologist, served as La Plata County coroner from 2003-12. She now lives in Florida and Maryland.

Adult negligence in child deaths difficult to bear

What could be worse than knowing that your child died because of your negligent inattention? How should such a death be certified? What should be the punishment?A Washington Post writer won a 2010...

DATE: Sept. 12, 2010 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

‘Greatest Generation’ veteran leaves behind a legacy of service

“I’ll do what I have to do,” Walter (Bud) Epling said in April.The pain in his side nagged, but it was bearable, so he cleaned ditches and burned weeds and irrigated fields as he’d always done. The...

DATE: Aug. 8, 2010 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Organ, tissue donation noble, despite mishaps

On April 15, The Durango Herald printed an Associated Press report about a lawsuit filed against a New Mexico companythat procures human organs and tissues for scientific research.When body parts...

DATE: May 10, 2010 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Finding humor, even in times of tragedy

“Swamp swallows jet," blared the newspaper headline in May 1996, after ValuJet 592, a DC-9 in a power dive, slammedinto the Florida Everglades and disintegrated in the murky, critter-filled...

DATE: April 12, 2010 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

We can't always meet demand for answers

Dr. Brand (not his real name) was an aggressive young surgeon nicknamed “007" because he was licensed to kill.No case was too difficult, no patient too frail for surgery because “a chance to cut is...

DATE: March 8, 2010 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Just a traffic accident? Bullet says otherwise

While embalming a man who died in a single-vehicle crash, a funeral director in Texas found a bullet jacket in hisbody.The medical examiner, who said he had noted extensive injuries but hadn't...

DATE: Feb. 8, 2010 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Court ponders prosecutorial misconduct

As detailed in a recent article in The Washington Post, the U.S. Supreme Court is deliberating a case of wrongfulimprisonment and prosecutorial misconduct stemming from a 1978 Iowa murder. A...

DATE: Jan. 11, 2010 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

What role did fame play in Jackson ruling?

The Los Angeles County chief coroner has ruled Michael Jackson's death a homicide.Jackson's doctor treated him for insomnia by injecting the anesthetic drug propofol into his arm shortly before...

DATE: Nov. 9, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Bad luck or bullets - what really kills?

Some people are lucky. Some aren't.Some people take hair-raising risks for a thrill and survive unscathed. Some are cautious and prudent all their lives and die from a fluke accident, chance...

DATE: Oct. 12, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

It's a certainty that opinions will be different

Reasonable certainty is the standard doctors use when making diagnoses. (If all diagnoses were correct, nobody would need malpractice insurance.)Reasonable certainty is the standard people use to...

DATE: Sept. 14, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

You need a dose of silliness to make job easier

When I was district medical examiner in Florida, my chief morgue assistant and longest-serving employee, Salvatore Medina, was the life of the office.He teased stressed-out detectives, contorted...

DATE: Aug. 24, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Behind bully lies ugly truth of child abuse

Every now and then, someone at my family's church will say, "I wonder what ever happened to Stevie."Stevie and his parents, "the Johnsons," began attending our church in the middle 1950s when I was...

DATE: Aug. 10, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

A final lesson learned with body donation

What I remember most clearly is the smell. A sharp, nose-burning chemical odor permeated the air as my classmates and I filed into the anatomy laboratory at the University of Illinois College of...

DATE: July 13, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Some thoughts about promise unrealized

My maternal grandmother's older brother, Great-Uncle Bill, was my hero. He was a brilliant, self-educated man and the family black sheep.He smoked. Nobody in the family smoked.He swore. Nobody in...

DATE: June 8, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Debate about 'shaken baby' misses the point

The American Academy of Pediatrics is publishing a position paper this month that replaces the term "shaken baby syndrome" with the more generic "abusive head trauma."So I learned last October at...

DATE: May 11, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Lab's mistake begs a larger question

Last September, after a Michigan State Police audit of results from the Detroit police firearms laboratory, criminal justice officials ordered the Detroit crime lab shut down.The audit was ordered...

DATE: March 9, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Canadian group takes huge hit; is ours better?

None of his colleagues threw themselves into the challenging area of pediatric forensic pathology, untrained, quite the way Dr. Charles Smith did.From 1981 to 2005, he was a pediatric pathologist...

DATE: Feb. 9, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Forensic pathology, mediocre or no?

"Forensic pathology is the last bastion of medical mediocrity," said Dr. Anderson, my mentor during general pathology residency.A staff pathologist at the teaching hospital where I studied, he had...

DATE: Jan. 12, 2009 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

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