Straight Up with Sherri

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Who is obfuscating the autopsy?

"Schindler Coroner Nixed From Terri Autopsy" according to

"Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, the well-known forensic pathologist and coroner of Allegheny County, Pa., told listeners of a morning radio show that he was denied permission to observe Terri Schiavo's autopsy, despite the wishes of her parents."

"Dr. Wecht told Quinn and Rose he was certainly agreeable to that, but that several hours later he received word that the medical examiner had declined to give him permission."

So now I am left wondering why Dr. Jon Thogmartin, medical examiner for Pinellas/Pasco Counties, District 6, has decided to block an outside observer from the autopsy. Is something wrong here? I don't know; but it seems to me that the whole Terri Schiavo story has been mired in secrecy and control by questionable government officials. Is Dr. Thogmartin trying to join their ranks, or does he just want to add fuel to the flames of those who claim that the autopsy will just be more of the same cover-up?

The Empire Journal seems to ask a similar question. The editorial strongly suggests also that the Schindlers should have a representative present. There must be someone in addition to the one chosen by Felos whose position is dependent on Pinellas County politics.

Right Wing Nut Job


  • I can't for the life of me figure out why the ME doesn't want a third party observer during the autopsy. (though I've heard the autopsy is already complete) If it were me, I'd want observers. It would squelch any rumors of bias before they even got started. I wouldn't see it as a challenge to my skills or as an accusation that I was biased. I'd welcome it as a way to prove that I'm doing a competent, fair and impartial job.

    Go figure why the ME of Pinellas appears to think of an observer in a negative way and reject him/her. It's actually a good way to keep your name clean in a case where there are rumors running rampant.

    By Anonymous Ceci, at 3:52 PM  

  • But it would be much better to keep those rumors running rampant than it would to substantiate them.....

    You bet they didn't want anyone else in there...

    There is an entire NETWORK of judges, attorneys, doctors, hospices, and politicians whose careers and freedom from being behind bars hinges on this autopsy being secret.

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 3:58 PM  

  • Just WHO is Michael Schiavo and why has he been able to get away with murder? What protection does he have politically? Does he have money stashed away somewhere to pay off all the judges, etc. who protect him? Just what is going on with this whole thing? It's TOO bizzare to even seem real.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:00 PM  

  • Yup, that's precisely what I'm wondering. Why bother with an autopsy at all if you refuse to perform it in a way that will answer all doubts about the case? Perhaps you would if you felt you had the media in your pocket and you just had to jump through a hoop before issuing a statement they'll swallow hook line and sinker as "fact".

    FWIW, I saw an article on the BBC online today that mentioned Terri's autopsy was done, and they report that Michael asked for the autopsy! That line from Felos was swallowed by the MSM as fact. It looks like in MSM, whoever says it first makes it's a fact. The correcting information is either ignored or posted so belatedly that no one cares anymore. (like a correction a week late, in fine print, on the back page of the local paper)

    By Anonymous Ceci, at 5:05 PM  

  • Anon,

    I'm not so sure that Michael isn't just a tool for Felos. He may have had ulterior motives (we can't know if no one is allowed to investigate or those investigations get shot down by they courts as irrelevent), but this case is definitely a vehicle for certain "players". Those players have a vested interest in preventing any information of foul play from entering the mainstream media. So if Michael did do something wrong, they sure won't be the ones to pursue it.

    By Anonymous Ceci, at 5:09 PM  

  • You are all fianlly starting to catch on. Michael just wanted to get rid of Terri, move on, and keep the money. He was TICKED after the malpractice suit. He really exppected to get upwards of 20 million dollars and ended up with (after paying attorney fees and such) about $1.2 million.

    SO all the plans he had talked about for Terri were off. He was also bedding another woman at the time. That ended once he got the money and seemed to change very drastically.

    NOw- the other players only have their own interests- not Michael's. Felos has an agenda- pro-death, and $$$$. Greer's motivation is $$$$$ also. The Hospice, etc, $$$$. Greer and then Sherrif Rice were friends and again- $$$$.

    Lots of these people were just involved in back room deals- all benefitting others with $$$$.

    This case would set a precedent needed for more $$$$.

    What they did not expect was the national attention, or even all the local attention. Once the storm started they hadd to speed full ahead..... It is very deep and sinister- they all have differenct reasons for their motives- but like so many times- it comes back to $$$$ as the bottom line for all of them...

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 5:39 PM  

  • Forgive me- that first sentence sounds condescending, and that is not my intent...

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 5:47 PM  

  • Terri has been cremated. This war isn't over yet, it will get worse as we continue to demand answers.

    By Anonymous Marine Momma, at 6:27 PM  

  • I am a forensic pathologist, and there are many reasons for a forensic pathologist to limit the number of viewers at an autopsy.

    First, there is the matter of physically doing the job. Consider that in this case there will probably be at least two consultants who are there to actually add expertise to the case-- a neuropathologist and another in attendance. In addition, there will be the pathology assistant, the forensic photographer, and probably other ancillary folk (body handlers, investigators, etc). That means that even without having people there with nothing more than an axe to grind, there will be issues with seeing what is going on.

    That makes it very awkward to do a case at all.

    Having a ton of people in the autopsy suite turns it into a practical nightmare. I am sure that even the most conspiracy-minded people don't want *every* aspect of the investigation turned into a circus.

    The second is basic space. Morgues are not theaters. They are workspaces.
    In my morgue, we limit the number of people associated with each case to six. Since my basic team is three, that means that I will allow at most three observers and/or consultants. If there's a neuropathologist, another attending, and an investigator, that's it. If you get more people, there are problems with hygiene, safety, etc.

    Third, there is the problem of visualization. At a certain point, adding more people to the herd simply means that *nobody* can see anything. Having people there for advocacy does not add anything to the case, but often does just the opposite. I have had cases where advocates have come to a case, not raised objections or said anything while the case was being done, and then go to the press and say things about stuff they did not adequately visualize. In one case, a person called an injury a "bullet wound" where it was trivially not so, because she
    saw it from the back of a cluster of observers. In another, an observer called a superficial abrasion an "ice pick wound."


    Dr. Thogmartin has a stellar reputation for doing what he does -- good forensic pathology. Sometimes pandering to those who play to the cameras has to come second.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:07 PM  

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