Position: Coroner’'s Report

Email: chuser@durangoherald.com

Alcohol steals the potential of so many

On my bedroom wall hangs a family portrait almost 100 years old. Dressed in their Sunday best and formally arranged in two rows, my paternal grandmother, Clara; her parents; three brothers; and...

DATE: June 3, 2015 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Genetic testing can explain sudden deaths

Certain inherited diseases confer a significantly increased risk of sudden death. Genetic tests for many of those diseases are available, but most coroners and medical examiners don’t order them....

DATE: May 10, 2015 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

It’s useless to test skills that go unused

Dr. Charles Hirsch, under whom I trained, said few people have 20 years’ experience. Lots of people have one year’s experience repeated 20 times. Some people spend years repeating their errors,...

DATE: April 12, 2015 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Distinguishing neglect from poor caregiving

“What looks like neglect from my perspective is sometimes the best people can do given the tools and capabilities they have,” one of my colleagues said. The comment was part of a debate about...

DATE: March 8, 2015 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

It’s not easy to change your mind

When a child dies from a head injury, an “undetermined” manner-of-death certification may be seen as an act of cowardice or an act of courage. Brookelynn Palmer, the 13-month-old daughter of...

DATE: Feb. 7, 2015 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Errors common when reporting cause of death

A great many of the death certificates filed in this country aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, and neither are the scientific studies based on them. I’ve expressed this opinion in writing...

DATE: Jan. 11, 2015 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Is shooting from distance self-defense?

Almost 20 years ago, two men in Fort Myers, Florida, got into an argument, and the one who brought a baseball bat to a gunfight wound up dead. I did the autopsy. I don’t remember what the argument...

DATE: Dec. 7, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

What are limits when ruling on cause of death?

In March, a superior court judge in New Hampshire barred the state’s chief medical examiner from testifying that the death of an 8-month-old boy was a homicide. As reported by The Telegraph in...

DATE: Nov. 9, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Being coroner doesn’t mute pain of personal loss

Death catches some people unawares. Others, like my Grandpa Reuben, see it coming. As the only child of two only children, I was unusually close to my grandparents. I followed Grandpa around the...

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

Coroner correct to rule Brady death a homicide

James Brady, press secretary to President Ronald Reagan, died last month at 73. A Virginia medical examiner certified his death a homicide – a consequence of the gunshot wound to the head he...

DATE: Sept. 7, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

Our definition of death is subject to change

I was a medical student when I first saw someone die. A middle-aged woman lay in the intensive-care unit surrounded by machinery that recorded her heartbeat, measured her blood pressure and pumped...

DATE: Aug. 9, 2014 | COLUMN: Coroner's Report

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

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