Todd, Shawn Sullivan, Reporter discussed on The Takeaway


Thanks for being with us here on the take away today i'm todd's were like he you die in the state of new jersey there's a good chance that your loved ones may never know how or why that's what the new investigation finds in its look at the medical examiner system in new jersey plagued by dysfunction and inefficiency a lack of oversight and in overworked staff it was an eighteen month investigation by nj advance media and it reveals a broken system in new jersey shawn sullivan at state house reporter for nj advance media and his team gained access to a statewide database containing the records of hundreds of thousands of sudden death cases in new jersey dating back more than two decades basically we found long delays in the amount of time it took to close death investigate asians in new jersey um in someplace places double the national standard so um you know families were waiting as long as four months or more to find out how their loved ones died well described some of the problems that you uncovered we found everything from situations where potential murders were classified as suicides official suicides classified as murders people locked up in jail awaiting trial for three years only to be released after another medical examiner took a second look we found one family that actually their mother was in a car accident and uh a her hand was severed in the crash and so the family wasn't quite sure what happened there and uh days later they went to set up a roadside memorial and actually found a hand on the side of the highway talk about the types of cases the generally go to a medical examiner what are they for get not every death goes before medical examiner but state law sort of prescribes a range of cases you know potential homicides potential suicides infant death star deaths in police custody death in cheils these are all things that obviously require a little bit more due diligence and so we'll get referred to medical examiners under state law who will then decide whether to do an external viewing which is sort of a you know an examination it doesn't require cutting the body open or an autocracy and that's to get a review and a determination of the official cause of death sometimes that might be used in a legal procedure yet got causing manner of death are important designations.

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