Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
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.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



EDITORIAL: Speed up review of doubtful medical examiner cases

Monday, December 24, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times
by Editorial Board

EDITORIAL: Speed up review of doubtful medical examiner cases

Dr. John E. Cavanaugh

Dr. John E. Cavanaugh. | Sun-Times files


Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!

Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!


The Cook County medical examiner’s office did the right thing when it decided to review all 218 cases handled by one of its pathologists who missed spotting a homicide.

But the review is taking too long. If the pathologist, Dr. John E. Cavanaugh, missed evidence of other crimes, the police need to know before the trail goes cold. In other cases, whether a “suicide” was not really a suicide or a “natural” death might have been caused by something else, family members need to know — now.

EDITORIAL

In Sunday’s Sun-Times, Tim Novak and Robert Herguth reported that more than a year after learning about the missed murder, the medical examiner’s office is little more than one-third of the way through its review of Cavanaugh’s cases and that the agency doesn’t expect to finish its work until the end of 2019.

What would be nice here is a sense of urgency.

In the case that triggered the review, Cavanaugh didn’t notice that a man who was found dead in a burning apartment had died as a result of being stabbed. Clearly, that was evidence police needed to properly investigate the case.

After reviewing 82 cases, the medical examiner’s office has found the wrong manner of death also was listed in four additional cases. The “natural” death of a 2-year-old should have been listed a undetermined because bruises were found, raising questions about child abuse. A “suicide” should have been listed as undetermined. An “undetermined” death should have been recorded as natural. Similarly, an “accidental” death should have been listed as natural.

 

The medical examiner’s office is a critical link in uncovering and solving crimes and letting family members know whether a loved one died by suicide or natural causes.

But in recent years, the office has continued to stumble on the job. In 2012, we learned that coolers overflowed with bodies, and corpses in blue body bags were being stacked in hallways, because pathologists couldn’t keep up. In the past year, the Sun-Times has reported that some of the agency’s investigators, who help collect evidence, have faced disciplinary action for failing to visit even a single crime scene each month.

In a 2015 case, federal agents came to strongly believe that a Chicago police sergeant, Donald Markham, had been murdered, though the medical examiner’s office ruled he had shot himself in the head. The medical examiner hasn’t changed its ruling, so the case remains closed as a suicide.

A Cook County spokeswoman says the review of the 218 questionable cases is taking a good deal of time because the pathologists doing the work have new cases to handle as well.

But the longer the review takes, the less value it has with respect to solving actual crimes.

RELATED:

Unprecedented review after medical examiner fires doctor who missed a murder, May 27, 2018

Doctor fired by Cook County medical examiner now under the microscope in Indiana, July 16, 2018

Cook County prosecutors want a 2nd opinion on fired pathologist’s murder finding, Aug. 7, 2018

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

 



Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019
WTTW News

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

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
WBEZ News

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 suffredin.org

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 suffredin.org

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

all news items

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