Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



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

Beekeeping Behind Bars: Inmates Raise Bees at Cook County Jail
Friday, June 14, 2019
WTTW News

Court rules county retirees entitled to health care no matter who last employer was
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Prevent Illinois from being the next ground zero for measles
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

At Cook County Jail, Inmates Relax Their Minds, Bodies With Yoga
Thursday, June 06, 2019
Prison Mindfulness Institute

Illinois Dept. of Revenue Releases Final 2018 Cook County Equalization Factor
Thursday, June 06, 2019
JD Supra

Skokie drops recent proposal to opt out of Cook County minimum wage ordinance
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Chicago Tribune

JAMA examines rising drug costs • CVS' ambitious transformation • Cook County extends Medicaid contract
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

DCFS says nonprofit misused taxpayer dollars, demands repayment of $100K
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County judge, ripped for ‘insensitive’ racial comments, dumped from bench
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Offers Low Cost Rabies And Microchipping Clinic
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Patch

Masturbating Cook County Jail inmates could cost taxpayers $2 million-plus in legal fees
Tuesday, June 04, 2019

New training and protocols needed at Cook County, task force says after sexual harassment scandal
Friday, May 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County assessor's tax reform bill skids in Springfield
Friday, May 31, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi's property tax reforms stall out in Springfield
Friday, May 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

The North Shore Mosquito Abatement District has found the first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus in the District this year.
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County to Address Perinatal Health Disparities with $4.8M Grant
Friday, May 24, 2019
WTTW News

Audit Recommends Ways To Overhaul Cook County Property Tax System
Thursday, May 23, 2019
WBEZ News

Cock-a-doodle-deferred? After ‘urban farmers’ cry foul, county tables rooster ban
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

From green screen computers to staff shortages, a new audit says Cook County's property tax system needs more resources
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Chicago Tribune

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

all news items

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