Wednesday, February 1, 2012

FRONTLINE: Post Mortem

Popular television shows, such as C.S.I., portray death investigators as high-tech sleuths wielding the most sophisticated tools of 21st century science. But, such investigations are not nearly the normal. An unprecedented collaborative investigation by FRONTLINE's Lowell Bergman, ProPublica and NPR found a very different reality: A dysfunctional system in which there are few standards, little oversight and the mistakes are literally buried.

"There are people out there trying to carry out death investigations and they're trying to do them the best they can, but they don't have the training, they don't have the money, they don't have the infrastructure and they don't have the skill," retired Virginia state Medical Examiner Dr. Marcella Fierro tells FRONTLINE.

You almost won't believe what's being reported. Watch FRONTLINE: Post Mortem on your local PBS television station, or watch the full version online. Here's the trailer -


  1. Some follow-up from FRONTLINE into lax standards involved in forensics certification: No Forensic Background? No Problem

  2. Recent case in point -

    An Illinois Lottery winner was fatally poisoned with cyanide a day after collecting about $425,000. That's according to a medical examiner in Cook County, who says the body of Urooj Khan will be likely be exhumed. Khan's death in July was initially thought to be from natural causes. It's now been classified as a homicide.

    And the only reason the poisoning was discovered 6-months later later is because a family member was suspicious and kept pushing the ME for toxicology testing. Like dying the day after winning the lottery isn't suspicious enough.

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