Tag Archives: USA

In NC medical examiner system, heavy autopsy caseloads raise risk of mistakes

Charlotte Observer Fred Clasen-Kelly, Gavin Off, Ames Alexander 17 November 2013

Pathologists in North Carolina’s thinly staffed medical examiner system do as many as 10 autopsies in a single day, records show. Experts say thorough autopsies typically take two to four hours each, so it’s hard for pathologists to do more than four in a day.

Dr. Gregory Schmunk, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, an organization that sets standards for forensic autopsies, said he was troubled to hear pathologists in North Carolina were handling as many as 10 autopsies in a day.

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DNA breakthrough in ‘Baby Hope’ mystery

The Sydney Morning Herald James Barron and Joseph Goldstein October 9, 2013

As the officers tacked up posters and handed out fliers in July, a van with loudspeakers inched through the New York streets, announcing yet another attempt by the police to dredge up anything resembling a clue in an emotionally wrenching case from 1991: the little girl whose emaciated and bound body had been left in a cooler by a highway in Upper Manhattan.
There was no name. No known family. No suspects.
After 22 years, it had become one of those cases that seem destined to go unsolved, no matter how detectives tried to jog people’s memories or find something that had eluded them the last time.

Organ and tissue retention

Kathryn Haden-Pinneri, Victor W. Weedn (2013) Academic Forensic Pathology Vol. 3 No. 3 pg 294-300

Few legal challenges have had the potential to disrupt the functions of medical examiner and coroner offices as much as those related to organ and tissue retention. Typically a routine part of the autopsy process, blood and tissue samples are submitted for toxicologic testing, microscopic examination, and/or retained for consultation with specialists. Despite being governed by state laws, most state statutes do not specifically address the issue of organ and tissue retention. This oversight has allowed for variability in the interpretation of the rights of the legal next of kin, opening the doors to litigation. This article reviews the legal implications associated with organ and tissue retention, summarises the litigation in the United States and other countries, discusses the subsequent changes in practice that have occurred, and the need for support from state and national organisations.

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Critical diagnoses in Forensic Pathology: ethics of disclosure

Melissa M. Blessing, R. Ross Reichard (2013), Academic Forensic Pathology Vol. 3, No. 3, pg. 289

A complex set of systems exists in the United States to manage and regulate
the practice of medicine, and forensic pathologists (FPs) are bound by the associated ethical guidelines and associated statutory obligations. Individual FPs, for example, are required to have and maintain a state medical license that requires continuing medical education and provides oversight of many aspects of the practice of medicine. The laboratories in which forensic pathology is practiced, however, generally do not have to be accredited. In contrast, the
College of American Pathologists (CAP) is the recognized accrediting body that “regulates” the majority of anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine, including hospital (consented) autopsies. Unlike hospital-based pathology practices, few incentives are present that encourage or require forensic pathology practices to pursue accreditation. Since the preponderance
of forensic pathology practices do not fall under the purview of CAP, this relatively small subset of pathologists are left to determine their own set of professional and ethical standards. The National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) laboratory accreditation and published autopsy guidelines provides a foundation for development of a quality management program, but does not specifically address disclosure of test results. Defining “critical diagnoses” in forensic pathology is challenging, and communicating these important findings to the proper individual(s) or organizations may not fall under statutory or accrediting requirements, and thus may become an ethical issue for the medical examiner/coroner.

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Tasered Suspect Dies After Police Chase

NBC10 Philadelphia, 22 July 2013

According to police, [following a police chase] the suspect, a 28-year-old Wilmington resident, began to fight with the officers as he resisted arrest. An officer used a stun gun on the victim but that still didn’t stop the man.. . Another Taser was then used to try and stop the suspect. The man was then handcuffed and put upright on the ground. Shortly after, the man appeared to go into cardiac arrest. Officers took off the cuffs and began CPR on the man including trying to use an AED to restart his heart.

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Enhancing Employee Outcomes in Crime Labs: Test of a Model

Forensic Science Policy & Management: An International Journal, 2012 3:3, 105-112 DOI: 10.1080/19409044.2012.755236

This study developed and tested a model identifying determinants of employee turnover intentions and desirable performance behaviors, including helping others and engaging in knowledge sharing. Data collected from 798 employees at 10 FORESIGHT laboratories suggest that job satisfaction and embeddedness are the primary antecedents of turnover intentions and knowledge sharing, and that embeddedness is a stronger predictor variable of both outcomes. The employees’ understanding of the lab’s strategic vision is the primary predictor of embeddedness, and job autonomy is the primary predictor of job satisfaction.

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Women 16-49 at risk of multiple pollutants

Brown University 28-Nov-2012

Nearly 23 percent of American women of childbearing age met or exceeded the median blood levels for all three environmental chemical pollutants — lead, mercury, and PCBs — tracked in an analysis of data on thousands of women by Brown University researchers. All but 17.3 percent of the women aged 16 to 49 were at or above the median blood level for one or more of these chemicals, which are passed to fetuses through the placenta and to babies through breast milk.

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US research reveals mammogram ‘flaws’ in breast cancer screening

The Australian AP  November 22, 2012

MAMMOGRAMS have done surprisingly little to catch deadly breast cancers before they spread, a big US study finds.
At the same time, more than a million women have been treated for cancers that never would have threatened their lives, researchers estimate.
Up to one-third of breast cancers, or 50,000 to 70,000 cases a year, don’t need treatment, the study suggests.
It’s the most detailed look yet at over-treatment of breast cancer, and it adds fresh evidence that screening is not as helpful as many women believe. Mammograms are still worthwhile, because they do catch some deadly cancers and save lives, doctors stress. And some of them disagree with conclusions the new study reached.

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2013 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research meeting announced

BioPrepWatch Jeffrey Bigongiari November 8, 2012

The American Society for Microbiology, Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research recently announced that it will hold its 2013 meeting in Washington, D.C.
ASM is billing the meeting, which is scheduled to take place in late February 2013, as an opportunity for leading scientists, public health researchers and policy makers to learn about the latest advancements in biodefense and emerging diseases research.

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Sam Houston state developing lab test for bath salts

Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University is developing a laboratory test to detect the use of bath salts, a new designer drug that was added to the list of illegal substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2011.
Sam Houston State University received a federal grant from the National Institute of Justice to create a test for key components of bath salts in biological samples in crime labs.

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