Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Frontline's Postmortem

As I have said to a number of people this morning via email, I think they did an excellent job at highlighting the problems associated with death investigations in the US. The idea of national standardization is not new and is something that we have been requesting for decades. The major issue is the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME). They have no voice in Washington and do nothing to advocate for our profession. Yes, the accredit morgues, but does that matter? No, most of the places discussed in the show were accredited. NAME produces white papers claiming to be 'position papers' that take no position; the 'Shaken Baby' paper is an excellent example--it needed further investigation. The organization does nothing to impact the way I practice medicine. The groups publication, The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology is poorly edited and full of typos and grammar mistakes. This is supposed to be my standard of practice?  When the NAS published their report on the forensic sciences, NAME stated they agreed, but did nothing. NAME needs to do something more.

We need to delete the coroner system. But who is going to do the work? No one goes into forensic pathology anymore because it is one of the lowest paid medical specialties and the working conditions are difficult. Who can make 'state money' and pay off student loans? NAME should be in D.C. fighting for reform and for federal and state tuition reimbursement of doctors who go into forensic pathology. A wonderful agreement would be for a state to say "if you agree to work for us for X number of years, we'll pay off X% of your loans". The district attorney's lobbing group were able to do it, why can't NAME? The current major project I get spammed about from NAME is the creation of a pie chart describing what Chief trained which fellow, it's the creation of a forensic family tree. Who cares?

Here is the link to the show:

These are my thoughts, and my thoughts only, they do not reflect any organization I may work for.

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