William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Friday, 11, February, 2011

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 19:19

It’s Friday, so it’s time for SAPPY CAT BLOGGING!

Murphy in the sun

So, There I Was

Filed under: Cleveland,Haterade,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 16:58

Sitting in traffic on a wicked cold day.  In front of me was a silver Prius, with the vanity plate “NOPEC” and a bumper sticker proudly informing that the car’s CO2 output had been taken up by  plantings somewhere.

I was able to notice these things because the smug git driving the Prius cut me off, and then double parked blocking traffic with the engine running to go into a Swillbucks.

I can certainly understand keeping the car idling, it was 9 degrees in the sun.  I think reforestation is a pretty good idea, and I’ all for buying land to be habitat and all that.

The combination of the smug-self-righteousness and the selfish driving made me want to take a fire axe to the vehicle.

Wednesday, 9, February, 2011


Filed under: Forensics,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 22:09

White Coat had a post about photography in the hospital.  With all the HIPPA hysteria, I’m surprised that hospitals allow photography.  Also, there’s something really…odd about videotaping a birth.  The process is fine and natural, but it is neither clean nor dignified.  At least not when it’s going on.  Be that as it may, White Coat wanted to learn about photography in coroner’s offices.

In Ohio, coroner’s reports and photographs are public records.  The office was funded with tax dollars, and anyone can go and get one of the reports and photographs.  In the pre-digital days, that meant ordering a set of prints, at a cost of processing (in my office it was $15/print).  Because we weren’t in the photo reproduction business, and people with a need for them got the whole set.  Occasionally, family members wanted single prints (one fellow wanted to reproduce a relative’s tattoo), but that was rare.  The office had an unwritten but understood policy to try to keep photographs out of the hands of the morbid and the puriently interested.  If pressed, the photos would be made, but the overriding goal was to make sure the dead were treated with respect.

Photographs are taken for documentation of identity and evidence.  They are used in court, by other expert witnesses, and for the educational mission of the office. There is a long-standing relationship between forensic pathology and public health

Not everyone feels the same way.  When Dale Earnhardt died in Florida, his autopsy photographs were requested by the Orlando Sentinel.   The Earnhardt family was annoyed, and got the Florida state legislature to craft the Earnhardt Family Protection Act, was sponsored by Senator Jim King (R-Jacksonville.   Mr. Earnhardt’s autopsy photos are sealed, and cannot be released without a court order.  ALL autopsy photographs in Florida are sealed unless a there is a court order or the permission of the next of kin for each image.   I believe there is a $10,000/2 year imprisonment penalty per image.  There is no exception for educational use.

As a matter of respect, autopsy photos should not be printed in the newspaper.  It’s disrespectful of the dead, and the public really doesn’t need to see those things with their morning coffee.  I see autopsy photos on a regular basis, and there are some I’d really rather not see.  I think the public health and education missions of a medical examiner/coroner’s office are important.  The Earnhardt Family Protection act means interesting cases cannot get written up in the forensic literature, they cannot be used to teach medical and other professional students, or write forensic textbooks.  The paperwork burden is so onerous that even in permission could be obtained (people are very reasonable, but is it nice to ask the recently bereaved, assuming they exist) keeping the records is expensive and burdensome.  It is so burdensome that smart folks would not teach forensic medicine in Florida.  I don’t believe that consequence was considered or intended.

Tuesday, 8, February, 2011

The Big, Brown, Truck of Goodness

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 12:22

Came today.  Always a good thing.

Sunday, 6, February, 2011

Shakespeare Retold

Filed under: Oddness,Poetry — williamthecoroner @ 22:45

I am not usually a fan of adaptations of Shakespeare.  Perhaps I was ruined by my first director, who did everything in the manner of Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Drama.  Actually, Shakespeare is good enough that it can withstand such treatment.  The musical comedy of the Life of Susan B. Anthony done in the Style of Good Woman of Szechuan (Don’t ask.  Just don’t ask) withered under such abuse. I’m of the opinion that Shakespeare should be done as written, unless you’re really, really good.

Be that as it may, the BBC’s production of Shakespeare Retold was worth a look.  The quality was spotty, as some adapters were better than others.  The Much Ado About Nothing (set in a contemporary regional British Newsroom) was absolutely brilliant.  The dialogue was snappy, I could buy the premise, Hero was not a wet mess like she is in the original.  Even the guy who played Dogberry was perfectly bumptious.

The second play on the disk was MacBeth, set in a contemporary London three-star restaurant.  While there were some creative flashes–I particularly liked the three supernatural garbagemen, and the blasted heath was a rubbish tip and the little joke about the “Scottish Chef” was clever.  But that was about it.  I can see the original MacBeth killing for a kingdom–when I watched the modern version, 1. MacBeth looked like he was about 20, no where near old enough to be an executive chef and 2. I kept wondering why he just didn’t go get a loan and start his own restaurant.  It would have been so much easier.  Of course, if characters were sensible, then there would be no PLOT.  I just couldn’t buy it.  It will be interesting to see what they did with the other two plays.

Friday, 4, February, 2011

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 22:46

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