Stories

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

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Search results for "medical examiner" ...

  • Grave Secrets: Breakdown in N.C. Death Investigations

    A six-month Charlotte Observer investigation found that North Carolina's system for investigating death is fraught with problems. "Medical examiners have failed to detect at least five homicides from 1993 to 1998, including three in which they had to dig up the bodies to perform autopsies. And errors and oversights have jeopardized hundreds more death investigations in those years." Among the reasons for these oversights and errors: busy doctors rarely visit the scenes of suspicious deaths; N.C. does not require specific training in death investigation for the people authorized to do them; some medical examiners seldom order autopsies when they should; when autopsies are performed, the wrong doctors (e.g. gynecologists) are often doing them. This four-day series utilized databases of more than 395,000 death records in North Carolina and 225,000 death records in South Carolina from 1993 to 1998, and 50,000 computer records from the officer of N.C. medical examiner. Reporters also reviewed 600 N.C. death certificates and dozens of autopsy reports by hand.
  • Dead Sailor

    KGTV TV examines the Navy's investigation into the mysterious death of a young sailor. "William Alan Schneider died last December. The medical examiner called it suicide, but the circumstances convinced Schneider's family it was murder."
  • Bad Medicine

    An Arizona Republic investigation reveals that the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners is negligent. The board allows doctors to "keep practicing even when they have repeated complaints and even when they admit serious medical errors."
  • Who killed John McCloskey?

    The Roanoke Times takes a look at the suspicious death of John McCloskey. The medical examiner concluded McCloskey's injuries were inflicted while he was in the custody of either the sheriff's department or the state mental hospital.
  • Heroin

    The Orlando Sentinel reports "Heroin use in greater Orlando continues to climb far beyond experts' expectations. What once seemed dangerous experimentation by young people has evolved into a frightening level of addiction that continues to spread through the population. Law enforcement agencies have been slow to recognize the depth of the problem. Statistics have painted a less serious picture because state medical examiners' reporting procedures have virtually ignored many deaths in which heroin was a significant factor.... local investigators hadn't recognized that local addicts were shifting from snorting heroin to injecting it, a frightening sign of the growing addiction here..."
  • Sudden death, lingering doubts

    Williams tells the story of one man's fight for an explanation of his wife's death. His wife of six months died unexpectedly and, according to the medical examiner, of unknown causes. Jerry Sagen thought differently and pursued his theory of an allergy drug which interacted with other prescription drugs his wife had been taking.
  • The BOMEX Files

    The Phoenix New Times finds that Arizona's State Board of Medical Examiners, which regulates 14,000 doctors, rarely disciplines its own. BOMEX accumulated a backlog of nearly 1,000 complaints and took months and even years to deal with complaints against incompetent and dangerous physicians.
  • Why are Iowa's babies dying?

    Former Iowa medical examiner Thomas Bennett steadfastly claims that adults are increasingly shaking babies to death. But, the ABA reports, lawyers and forensic pathologists find that diagnosis fatally flawed.
  • Five Deaths Shock D.C. Neighborhood

    Story of a 28-year-old woman found beneath the floor boards of a vacant house whose death was initially labeled as due to an "undetermined cause," and not a homicide. Escobar exposed links among several women's deaths and prompted local police and the FBI to launch an ongoing investigation into the possibility that the woman was one victim of a serial killer loose in the neighborhood. Over the course of a month, Escobar wrote every few days about the killings, prompting the police to organize a special joint task force, causing the medical examiner to call in outside forensics experts and provoking neighborhood meetings.
  • Harvest of Corneas at Morgue Questioned

    The Times exposed an extensive abuse of a little-known state law that allowed the Los Angeles County Dept. of Coroner/Medical Examiner to sell thousands of corneas from homicide, suicide and accident victims without the knowledge or permission from the next-of-kin, many of whom were within easy reach by telephone or death scenes. Under a "cost recovery" contract, the county collected between $215 and $335 per pair of corneas recovered by a prominent local eye bank, which then marked up the tissue 1,400 % to transplant institutions. The pressure to use the county morgue as a source of corneas was so great that some former eye bank technicians said the practice bordered on the ghoulish, with tissue taken in some cases from dead donors considered medically risky under federal guidelines.