Citizens' Issues
Shocking: US hospital refuses to give widow her husband's heart

After eight years, the US hospital that performed Jerry Carswell's autopsy acknowledges it has his heart, but still won't give it to his wife

After more than eight years, Linda Carswell finally has proof: According to photographs submitted as evidence at a recent court hearing, her husband's heart sits in a locker in the morgue of St Joseph Medical Center in Houston, stored in two plastic tubs.

But the hospital still won't return it so that Carswell can bury it with his body.

ProPublica wrote in December about Carswell's battle for the heart, and for answers about her husband's unexpected death. Jerry Carswell, 61, went to a different Houston-area hospital for kidney stones in January 2004 and was found dead in his bed after receiving pain medication on the day he was supposed to be released.


The family's experience showed how problems with clinical autopsies - which are conducted on just 5 percent of patients who die in hospitals and rarely include toxicology tests - can thwart survivors' ability to determine what happened to their loved ones.


The pathologist at St. Joseph Medical Center who conducted Jerry Carswell's autopsy never determined a cause of death. Linda Carswell sued Christus St. Catherine Hospital, the facility that treated her husband, in Harris County District Court, losing a claim for negligence, but winning a $2 million award for fraud based on the handling of the autopsy. Christus St. Catherine is appealing the verdict.

An opinion issued in June by the Texas Supreme Court says a deceased person's next of kin is entitled to possess his body and bury it. That's standard practice nationwide, said Dr. Victor Weedn, a lawyer and pathologist who is professor and chair of the George Washington University department of forensic sciences.

Weedn said he doesn't see why the hospital couldn't give Jerry Carswell's heart back and warned that it could be incurring liability by keeping it.

Erin Lunceford, an attorney for St. Joseph, told ProPublica that the hospital realizes it could be sued for the organ, but is concerned that turning it over would violate a judge's order during the negligence case to preserve evidence.

The ongoing saga turned Carswell into an advocate for improved autopsy laws and other patient rights. She said her prolonged legal struggle illustrates obstacles encountered by those harmed in medical facilities - the type often cited by members of ProPublica's Patient Harm Facebook group. Patients and their loved ones can't get answers to basic questions, encounter roadblocks in obtaining medical records and are not treated with dignity, she said.


"They don't understand the human meaning of this at all," Carswell said.




ED attaches property of 'doctor' who sold miracle drug

Munir Khan is accused of cheating over 120 persons, by claiming that his medicine 'Body Revival' can cure all diseases, including cancer

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached property of self-proclaimed 'scientist and doctor' Munir Khan, earlier arrested on the charges of cheating and forgery, reports PTI.
"We have attached property worth Rs 6 crore," an ED official said.
Khan, arrested in May 2010 and later granted bail, is accused of cheating over 120 persons, by claiming that his medicine 'Body Revival' can cure all diseases, including cancer. He had netted some celebrity clients, police said.
A 100 ml bottle of the medicine sold for Rs16,000. TV advertisements featured Khan with yesteryear television actor Tabassum.
Tabassum has filed intervening application in the court, saying that Khan misled her into endorsing the product on TV.
In 2009, Khan's clinic at suburban Versova had been raided by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) officials.
He has been booked under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code, Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act and Maharashtra Medical Practitioners Act.


CIC asks SEBI to disclose number of insider-trading notices issued to RIL

The CIC said argument offered by SEBI official that the disclosure would impede the process of the quasi-judicial proceedings is neither supported by any evidence nor tenable

New Delhi: The Chief Information Commissioner has directed the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to provide the number of notices that might have been issued to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd for alleged insider trading of share transfer, reports PTI.
RTI applicant Debashish Nath had sought from the SEBI the number of notices which have been issued against RIL and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) for alleged insider trading.
In connection with the RIL, the SEBI informed him that since quasi-judicial proceedings are in progress in this regard the details sought by him cannot be provided as per the exemption clause 8(1)(h) of the RTI which prohibits disclosure of such information.
After examining the contentions of both the parties, Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra ordered the disclosure of information sought by Nath.
"After carefully considering the facts of the case, we are of the view that the above response of the CPIO was not entirely in order. Even if it is admitted that certain quasi-judicial proceedings were in progress against the relevant group of companies for insider trading in share transfer, at least, the total number of notices issued could have been mentioned," he said. 
Mishra said "also, if the notices issued included any information regarding the nature of the violation, such as, the volume of insider trading of shares, even that information could have been provided." 
He said the argument offered by the SEBI official that the disclosure of the desired information would impede the process of the quasi-judicial proceedings is neither supported by any evidence nor tenable.
"We direct the CPIO to provide to the appellant within 10 working days of receiving this order the number of notices the SEBI might have issued to these companies during the relevant period for insider trading in share transfer. Besidess, if the other details sought by him are included in the notices sent or separately maintained in a central register/database, that information should also be provided," he said.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)