Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "medical examiner" ...

  • Ethical problems plagued brain donations in Maine

    This investigation documented the many problems and flaws with a brain-harvesting program run by the state. Problems range from the fact that the man who coordinated the program was paid on a "per-brain basis" and used unethical tactics to solicit consent from families of the deceased. Furthermore, the state medical examiner was linked to both the brain harvester and the researchers who used the brains.
  • How well do you know your doctor?

    Nevada is experiencing a "medical malpractice crisis" in which doctors are leaving the state in droves because their malpractice premiums have skyrocketed. Frank Mullen realizes that Nevadans could find out more about a contractor or car mechanic's legal record than a legal record of their doctors' malpractice settlements. The Nevada legislature recently reformed this, but still, the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners' information about doctors is often incomplete and sometimes wrong. The newspaper reviewed databases and documents, and cracked the code of a federal medical database.
  • Buried mistakes

    This investigation found that the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners regularly excuses doctors who have made mistakes in their practices, reserving the harshest discipline for doctors who use drugs, fail to fill out paperwork, or have other problems not directly related to patient care. The board dismisses about 80 percent of the complaints it receives each year, and several cases reviewed by The Post included doctors who received little punishment after patients died or were severely injured. The board and its records are shrouded in secrecy, making it difficult for patients and lawmakers to hold it accountable.
  • Taser safety claim questioned; medical examiners connect stun gun to 5 deaths

    This series of stories examines stun-gun safety and how police are using the weapons. Stun-gun manufacturer Taser International has claimed that the shock of the gun is not lethal, but the Republic found the devices to be linked to at least 11 deaths, according to autopsy reports and interviews with medical examiners nationwide. The Republic's investigation also found that Phoenix area police use the weapon mostly against unarmed suspects in petty crimes. The newspaper's investigation prompted inquires by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Arizona Attorney General's office.
  • "Doctor Discipline"; "How well do you know your doctor?"

    Over the course of their six month investigation, Gazette-Journal reporters, Frank Mullen and Steve Timko, uncover the truth about a handful of Nevada doctors responsible for the bulk of the state's malpractice lawsuits and settlements. According to this extensive series, many physicians, including the state's most-sued doctor, were going unpunished by the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners and continuing their practices. As a result of this investigation, "the board replaced two of its top officials (executive director and chief lawyer)."
  • Evidence of Injustice

    An exclusive i-team investigation shows how inconsistencies, mistakes and staffing problems are raising serious questions at the Maricopa County Medical Examiners Offices. This is a new forensic science center where coroners perform autopsies on people who have died on unnatural causes in this county. Investigators and legal experts rely on the information provided by this office, but the information is not always correct. Interviewees on this tape say that leads to having innocent people on trial for crimes that do not exist. In one case, the Sheriff's office began using an amended autopsy to defend a mysterious jail death. The Chief Medical Examiner changed his opinion about the jail death two years after the original autopsy, without any new information. Some Medical Examiners are doing many more autopsies per year than what is recommended.
  • Safe Bet? Shield Booster Seats

    Cosco Inc., a subsidiary of Dorel Industries based in Canada in one of the largest manufacturers of child products in the world. Twice in the last ten years, the federal government has caught Cosco covering up injuries and deaths associated with tis products. Dateline NBC has compiled a comprehensive list of serious spinal chord injury and death cases associated with the Grand Explorer child seat and it predecessor, the Explorer. Other companies have discontinued all of their similar models and Cosco is the only company still selling this type of shield booster seat. Dateline talked to state troopers, attorneys, parents of children who died in accidents while riding on the seat, medical examiners, and government sources in this six-month investigation.
  • Bad doctors keep on practicing

    The Law Journal examined a complete archive of the state Board of Medical Examiners (30 years of data) and found out that even when doctors killed their patients, the state allowed them to continue practicing. The journal concentrated on repeated malpractice in order to eliminate "good doctors who made a mistake". The project found 290 repeat offenders, 200 of whom were allowed to go back to medicine.
  • Day of the Dead: The declining autopsy rate is hurting medical science

    This article discusses the declining rate of autopsies being performed nationwide, and their implications for medical science. "Doctors are reluctant to request them, scared to discover a misdiagnosis that could lead to an expensive malpractice suit. Health maintenance organizations and government agencies are reluctant to pay for them. And there is a shortage of doctors trained to perform them." The article examines the various benefits autopsies offer the medical community -- from measuring the effects of new drugs to understanding various diseases and other health problems, and the possible benefits to families who want to determine just how their loved one died, and from what. The growth of one Los Angeles-based discount autopsy business, 1-800-AUTOPSY, is also discussed.
  • Death checks due for review

    A follow-up article to The Charlotte Observer's "Grave Secrets" series about the breakdown in North Carolina's death investigations. Following the series, this article relates how state leaders "are calling for a review of the state's troubled medical examiner system and organizing two groups to quickly chart the changes."