Position: Coroner’'s Report

Email: chuser@durangoherald.com

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