Monday, October 8, 2007

Must Reads

Radley Balko's reason article on Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne:

What’s more, for most of his career, Hayne also has held jobs as medical director of the Rankin Medical Center (a post he left last summer) and as director of the Renal Lab, a kidney and dialysis research center. These jobs, he has testified, would take up about 55 hours per week of his time, hours not spent performing the 30 to 35 autopsies he says he does each week. (A typical autopsy should take two to three hours, but sometimes takes an entire day, depending on the condition of the body and cause of death.) Hayne has said in depositions that he also testifies “two to three to four times per week,” all across Mississippi and occasionally in Louisiana.

How does he find the time? In his testimony, Hayne has claimed he “commonly” works 18 to 20 hours per day. He says he doesn’t take vacations, and works every weekend and every holiday. Until recently, Hayne performed most of his autopsies not at the state lab in Jackson but at Mississippi Mortuary Services, a funeral home owned by Jimmy Roberts, the longtime Rankin County coroner. Hayne and a few trusted assistants do most of his autopsies late at night, and the operation has a gruesome reputation. People who have visited Hayne’s practice during an autopsy session have described seeing as many as 15 bodies opened at once, with Hayne and his assistants smoking cigars, sometimes even eating sandwiches, as they go from one body to the next. Critics interviewed for this article, none of them particularly squeamish about autopsies performed under normal conditions, referred to Hayne’s operation as a “slaughterhouse,” a “sushi shop,” and a “sausage factory.”

And it gets worse ...

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