Dr. Carol J. Huser

Position: Coroner’'s Report

Email: chuser@durangoherald.com

America’s opioid crisis may be larger than we know

Quaaludes were popular before my time, but I saw cocaine and methamphetamine sweep the country and witnessed a renewed taste for heroin. Now, we have the “opioid crisis” – an epidemic of deaths...

DATE: July 1, 2017 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Test case shows how viewpoints about a death can differ

Medical examiners play mind games a lot. We create hypothetical death scenarios and work out the best certifications – the forensic pathology equivalent of Sudoku puzzles. We play these games alone...

DATE: June 2, 2017 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Physician-assisted suicide deaths in Colorado should be recorded accurately

The Colorado law that legalizes physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill requires certifiers to classify such deaths as natural. The cause of death must be the terminal illness, not drug...

DATE: May 6, 2017 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Deaths from police restraint present complex forensic, legal issues

Tanisha Anderson, a 37-year-old black woman, died during a struggle with Cleveland police in 2014. Her death was certified a homicide, but a judge refused to allow the medical examiner to testify...

DATE: April 1, 2017 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Technology revolutionizes the field of forensics

Forensic pathology has been a recognized medical subspecialty only since 1959, and I fear that for my profession, time is already running out. Doctors need to know why people die so they can...

DATE: March 2, 2017 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Tough choices: How far to take a death investigation?

Sometimes medical examiners have to decide whether it’s worth it to do everything they can. Families may think no stone should be left unturned in the effort to identify a body or determine a cause...

DATE: Feb. 2, 2017 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Where’s the line between accident and criminality?

When a child dies because somebody did something stupid, should medical examiners certify the manner of death as an accident because no harm was intended? Or homicide – stupidicide, we sometimes...

DATE: Jan. 4, 2017 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Rise in suicides casts shadow across Southwest Colorado

The Mountain West is a place for dreams. The spectacular vistas, primeval forests and the hardy, independent folks who live there are romanticized in our national history and popular culture. It...

DATE: Nov. 30, 2016 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

‘Silent suicide’ raises many questions worth exploring

If a competent elder refuses food, water or essential medical treatment and dies as a direct result, is that death a suicide? When a colleague brought up the topic recently, I realized that in 30...

DATE: Nov. 2, 2016 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

In Freddie Gray death, forensic medicine couldn’t answer critical questions

In April of 2015, Freddie Carlos Gray Jr., a 25-year-old black man, broke his neck while in police custody in Baltimore. The medical examiner ruled Gray’s death a homicide, but no officer was...

DATE: Oct. 5, 2016 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Imminent-death organ donation raises ethical questions

The Wall Street Journal says 52-year-old Robert Osterrieder, a registered organ donor, was a “go-to-guy,” always willing to help. Osterrieder’s wife and children thought organ donation reflected...

DATE: Aug. 31, 2016 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

When fright kills, is it murder or an accident?

It’s possible to frighten a person to death, and people have been charged with and convicted of murder for doing so. The recognition that a person may be guilty of some degree of murder even though...

DATE: Aug. 3, 2016 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

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