Mood: don't ask
Topic: "Frist Friends"
Given the mystical incantations of Frodo's favorite Witch Doctor, Frist the Magnificent, it was not surprising to learn that the State of Tennessee has lifted the Medical License of Dr. Charles Harlan, the former State Medical Examiner. Now think about this, they lifted the Medical License of a guy who only works on dead bodies. Frodo was aghast thinking about what he must have been doing on those slabs in Nashville.
In truth, Harlan was charged with tampering with evidence, incompetence, and bizarre personal behavior (so far, it sounds a lot like George W. Bush to Frodo). Let's examine a few of these charges before rigor mortis sets in or before CSI comes on.
In 1999, Harlan responded to a request for a confirmation of death notice for a local bank by faxing a piece of paper with the message "M. L. is dead." When a follow-up request for additional data was received, the little kidder responded "M. L. is dead. She is green and has maggots crawling on her." From Frodo's perspective, the information is concise, albeit a bit graphic.
Again in 1999, James Suttle spent a night at the residence of his cousin Steve Hobbs. During the night, Hobbs staggered and fell backward onto a glass-top coffee table. Upon his dispatch to the scene, and before any autopsy, Harlan pronounced Mr Hobbs' death a homicide due to a "stab wound in the back." After five months in jail, Mr. Suttle was found Not Guilty because the defense was able to prove that a rib Hobbs broke in a fight about a week before his death had punctured a lung, causing internal bleeding and a subsequent seizure. Hey, we can't all be perfect, let's be friends, after all, just be glad the case didn't happen in Texas. Former Governor Bush would've fried that sucker.
Harlan's lawyer has argued that forensic pathologists as a group are "different" because they work odd hours and deal with human tragedy on a daily basis. From Frodo's recollection, such a grouping might also include firemen, social workers, grave diggers, bodyguards, dog catchers, actors, and the Senate Majority Leader, to name a few.
Harlan's lawyer also added that "These are not the kind of physicians who become family practitioners or millionaire specialists." It should be noted that there has been a marked increase in the numbers of people studying to become Medical Examiners. Frodo thought that that was because the CSI series of hit TV shows had glorified the job. Perhaps Mr. Harlan's lawyer is on to something after all. Tort reform, remember, means that punitive damages can not exceed $350,000 for a non-working spouse who dies because of negligence or incompetence. Frodo wonders if becoming a Medical Examiner under these circumstances may just be the most non-litigous liable profession in all of Middle Earth.