I received a phone call 1 from Dr. Marie Hermann, the chief medical examiner of Volusia County. I quickly — quickly — gave her a summary of the events of the last week and told her that I couldn’t understand why Bob Burch would be so adamant that her office would not perform an autopsy.
She told me that she would be out of the office tomorrow morning because she had a meeting in another city, but that she would review the case in the afternoon. She said that she, “needs to see things in writing,” and that there may be things that I do not know. She said, “It’s up to me to make that decision.” I explained to her how I called, begging the nursing home to stop administering Risperdal, and about how in the last nine months I have seen an uninterrupted string of terrible mistakes made by hospitals, doctors, and nurses, including even an ordeal involving unsterilized equipment using during a colonoscopy at Halifax. Dr. Hermann said, “I am not the medical hospital police;” that her job wasn’t to “go after” people who had made mistakes, but just to decide whether there was justification for her office to perform an autopsy, which would be based on medical records.
She said that so far she didn’t have the information she needed to make that decision, and that someone would contact me tomorrow. 2 I apologized to her for calling her so late in the day and for taking up so much of her time. I asked her if she thought Bob Burch would be upset with me for “going over his head” and calling her directly, and she told me that she didn’t think so; she said that she understood that I was simply doing what I needed to do to get answers.
I let Dr. Hermann know that I was here in Sanford, Florida even though my phone number has a California area code.
I thanked her and said goodbye.
The entire call lasted seventeen minutes.
1 Note that this website is published on the West coast; this call began at 5:35 PM EDT
2 Nobody contacted me on August 15th; I did call both Dr. Hermann (she didn’t answer) and Bob Burch at the medical examiner’s office around four o’clock in the afternoon. (Mr. Burch told me a decision had not yet been made.)