Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.

Medical examiner to retire after 3 decades Fought with Daley over death toll during 1995 heat wave

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times

The first sign of trouble for Dr. Edmund Donoghue, chief medical examiner in Cook County, during the 1995 heat wave came in a Friday night phone call from the office.

There were 45 names on the examination list for the following day -- twice as many as the daily average. And it was only 9 p.m.

The next day, in fact, there were 85 bodies scheduled to be autopsied at the Robert J. Stein Institute at 2121 W. Harrison. The next day was 100; the next day 110.

Before the heat wave finished, more than 700 people succumbed to the heat in the county. It was one of several major investigations Donoghue oversaw during his nearly 30-year career.

Donoghue, 61, announced Monday that he will leave at the end of the year. He said he's eligible for retirement, and retiring "seemed the right thing to do."

During his career, Donoghue also played a key role in informing the public about the cyanide-laced Tylenol that killed seven people in 1982, and the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 just outside O'Hare Airport in 1979. In that case, Donoghue helped identify the 273 victims.

The heat wave was notable in part because it forced Donoghue into the public spotlight when the mayor challenged his numbers of heat deaths.

An official with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control later endorsed Donoghue's methodology.

"I don't think anybody realized how dangerous it could be. Once we did and once people accepted the fact that people were dying, they quickly changed the plan and they began to think about how we could prevent these deaths," Donoghue said.

Today, the city has an entirely different response to heat that includes a massive public awareness campaign to ensure people get to cooling centers.

"We were very busy over here,'' Donoghue said of the disagreement with the mayor. "We didn't have time to worry about what the mayor was thinking.''

Donoghue was appointed chief in 1993 after the retirement of Robert J. Stein. Donoghue knew he wanted to work in forensic pathology since walking into a sophomore class in 1967 at Marquette Medical School, now the Medical College of Wisconsin, and being handed a syllabus on the topic.

Over the years, he has enjoyed a job that many outsiders may regard as gruesome -- examining those who died suspicious or violent deaths to determine the cause and manner of death. And he's enjoyed informing the public when there are broader health threats.

Feds probing office for clout

Replacing Donoghue will be among the first appointments from new Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and will be among the moves providing an insight as to the type of government he'll run. The medical examiner's office was one of many offices that was a patronage dumping ground for Stroger's father, former Board President John Stroger.

The office of the medical examiner also was recently caught up in the ongoing federal investigation into Cook County hiring. A federal subpoena seeking hiring records dating to 1997 was served at the office in October -- although Donoghue said this had nothing to do with his decision to retire.

Donoghue's replacement also could be faced with having to make 10 percent cuts to the $8.6 million budget, something that worries him.

"I am really very concerned they will not leave the department with the resources we need,'' he said.

Donoghue, who is from the North Side and is married with three grown children, is considering taking a private job in forensic pathology. His current salary is $213,000.

Recent Headlines

System News
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

Women Jail Guards Say Sheriff’s Department Tolerated Sexual Harassment By Cook County Inmates
Monday, May 06, 2019
WBEZ Chicago public Radio

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.