NORMAN J CLEMENT RPH., DDS, NORMAN L.CLEMENT PHARM-TECH, MALACHI F. MACKANDAL PHARMD, IN THE SPIRIT OF WALTER R. CLEMENT BS., MS., MBA., BELINDA BROWN-PARKER, IN THE SPIRIT OF JOSEPH SOLVO ESQ., INC.T. SPIRIT OF REV. C.T. VIVIAN, JELANI ZIMBABWE CLEMENT, BS., MBA., IN THE SPIRIT OF THE HON. PATRICE LUMUMBA, IN THE SPIRIT OF ERLIN CLEMENT SR., WALTER F. WRENN III., MD., JULIE KILLINGWORTH, LESLY POMPY MD., CHRISTOPHER RUSSO, MD., NANCY SEEFELDT, WILLIE GUINYARD BS., JOSEPH WEBSTER MD., MBA, BEVERLY C. PRINCE MD., FACS., NEIL ARNAND, MD., RICHARD KAUL, MD., LEROY BAYLOR, JAY K. JOSHI MD., MBA, ADRIENNE EDMUNDSON, ESTER HYATT PH.D., WALTER L. SMITH BS., IN THE SPIRIT OF BRAHM FISHER ESQ., MICHELE ALEXANDER MD., CUDJOE WILDING BS, MARTIN NJOKU, BS., RPH., IN THE SPIRIT OF DEBRA LYNN SHEPHERD, BERES E. MUSCHETT, STRATEGIC ADVISORS
When I asked the question, how can one determine the cause of death in a drug overdose when the deceased is neither observed nor monitored, the National Association Of Forensic Pathologists sent me a paper outlining the process they use.
My analysis of that process is that it is well thought out but still has unexplained phenomena. A person who dies in a fire or an auto accident or utilizing an instrument like a gun, knife, or blunt object leaves little doubt that the action of these events caused the deaths of these individuals.
However, when a death is not witnessed, and the deceased is not being monitored, determining the cause of death is more difficult. In spite of these unwitnessed events, we continue to document on death certificates a cause of death. The term “Unknown ” is not acceptable. We know physiologically, the individual died from a cardiovascular collapse.
The heart stops beating, and the individual stops breathing, and all forms of life as we know it stopped. But what was the process leading up to this event?
That, to me, is the unanswered question. Did an individual with lung cancer die from lung cancer or with lung cancer? Did an individual who at autopsy, is found to have illicit drugs in their system die from the drugs or with the drugs? How exactly did the drugs cause the death?
These, of course, are questions without an answer. The answer given to me by the National Association Of Forensic Pathologists doesn’t address the direct cause but gives the medical considerations they use in determining the cause of death.
In drug overdose situations, they use the term “Accident ” as the cause of these unwitnessed events. Law enforcement, however with no medical training, has charged and convicted individuals of causing or contributing to an individual’s death.
Even healthcare providers who are authorized to prescribe controlled medication have been charged, arrested, and incarcerated. In spite of the June 27 2022, the United States Supreme Court ruling in the Ruan vs US case healthcare providers continues to be targets of law enforcement. How is this possible in a country with so many news outlets? Not one mention of a 9-0 decision written by Justice Beyer.
How is that possible? I can only speculate that the decision was far-reaching and automatically exonerates thousands of health care providers that the DOJ has put a hold on publishing this decision.
In addition, if the healthcare provider is not guilty of a crime, neither are pharmaceutical companies and the millions of dollars that have been awarded to states and individuals would have to be returned.
Walter F. Wrenn III M.D.
FOR NOW, YOU ARE WITHIN