in Drug-Related Fatality:
An Analysis of Drug-Related Deaths
Recorded by Coroners in
England and Wales in 2000
Webb L, Oyefeso A, Schifano F, et al.: Cause and manner of death in drug-related fatality:
an analysis of drug-related deaths recorded by coroners in England and Wales in 2000.
Drug Alcohol Depend (Ireland), Oct 24 2003, 72(1) p67-74.
"This study investigated causes and manner of drug-related fatalities recorded in 2000 in the United Kingdom, measuring the 'masked' manner of death in cases typically recorded as overdose. ... Whilst 802 cases were identified as direct acute overdose, representing 77% of the total accidental deaths, 23% of 'overdose' fatalities were caused by asphyxiation..."
Essentially, this is the ONLY study ever done (that I know of) that demonstrates the frequency in which Medical Examiners misrepresent ("mask") autopsy findings. Oh SurPriZe! I've encountered this sort of problem associated with the MAJORITY of restraint asphyxia cases that I've examined since 1999!
Although this study does NOT explore the potential "motivations" for Medical Examiners to misrepresent their findings, their motivation to do so is relatively CLEAR when it comes to restraint asphyxia cases. When an autopsy and investigation reveals that death was the probable result of emergency responders' actions (specifically, their methods of restraint), in order to avoid generating emergency responders' hostility, many Medical Examiners strive to deflect attention or "blame" away from the emergency responders by "masking" their cause of death determination.
No matter how you look at it, such a practice is WRONG!
I've posted this Drug and Alcohol Dependence article in PDF file format.
If you don't have an Adobe Acrobat PDF file program, you can download a FREE version HERE.
Cause and Manner of Death in Drug-Related Fatality: An Analysis of Drug-Related
Deaths Recorded by Coroners in England and Wales in 2000