Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Star: Coroner Must Go

The Star's editorial board weighs in against Marion Co. Coroner Kenneth Ackles (D): He should resign in the interest of protecting public safety. "Incompetent", "dysfunction", "inability to work with other public officials", "serving in an office beyond his abilities and training" and "threat to public safety" are some of the words the Star uses to explain why it thinks Ackles should resign his office. The Star believes key Democratic leaders, who have for the most part remained silent, need to take the lead in getting Ackles to step aside. It writes: "Key Democratic leaders in Marion County, including Mayor Bart Peterson and Sheriff Frank Anderson, need to counsel Ackles about his future in the office."


Anonymous said...

I knew it was only a matter of time before the public and powers that be realize what a CATASTROPHIC problem we have with the leadership at MCCO. While Ackles resigns, he ought take his chief with him. Though watch, they'll both scream racism, not imcompetence, is the reason all this is happening. Don't buy into it.........

Anonymous said... have my vote on what you said. Both totally incompetant, especially after the fiasco yesterday. Totally ignorant of HIPAA laws!

Anonymous said...

At the same time the Granma mentioned there is no process for recall and no impeachment. He would have to resign.

Showing the arrogance of many 'Rats in Marion County, Ken Ackles will NOT resign.

Anonymous said...

The media withheld items from the story yesterday morning that were vital to understanding the gravity of the situation. Look at it like this: You go to the doctor because you're sick. In the course of your office visit, you have labs drawn and sent off for analysis. He tells you to take it easy at home for a day or two and he'll call you when the labs are in with the results. You go home, get into bed (still sick), and wait for his call. The doctor sees 10 other patients that day, and draws labs on all of them to rule out strep and other dieases. Everyone is told to wait for a day or two for the results. Everyone goes home and sits by the phone, sick but patient.

Now imagine your doctor is forced to see 10 patients a day for the next three weeks. He is not allowed to check back to see if your labs have come back. Even if they are waiting on the fax, he cannot take the time to call you with the results, because he has to continue to see 10 patients a day even though his work with you is unfinished. Hundreds of patients are waiting for their lab results, thinking, "I'm sure the doctor will call me any minute..." But he doesn't. He isn't allowed to. Practice Management has ordered him to continue. He asks several times for a few days to call all these patients back with their results. "They're waiting," he says. Some of those lab results confirm happy news, like pregnancy. Others, sad news, like diabetes or Multiple Sclerosis. Life-changing news is on those faxes. But they sit idle, untouched. Imagine almost 200 patients waiting by the phone in this manner. Imagine 200 people hanging by a moment with news they have to know, but cannot have access to. Now put it in the context of the Coroner's Office. That's Pathology there--they've been told to cut and cut and cut, and forget about the cases with results pending. 170 families are waiting for answers. Dozens of those are criminal cases that will not go to trial. Someone kills your 6 year old child and will not serve any time for it because Kenneth Ackles and the city of Indianapolis thinks it is more urgent to continue on with autopsy in present day. It's like 170 people just suddenly don't matter anymore, according to the city of Indianapolis and Kenneth Ackles.

No physician's practice would ever be forced to accept this intrusion. But it's okay for Indianapolis to insist that FPAI does. It is okay for Kenneth Ackles to tell Dr. Radentz (Dr. Radentz' education: 4 years undergrad, 4 years medical school, 5 years Pathology residency, 1 year Forensic Fellowship, Boarded an Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and Forensic Pathology, program director for IU fellowship, and teacher to 125 of the 400 Forensic Pathologists in the country) how to practice medicine (Dr. Ackles: Chiropractors go to school for 3 years and has never gone to medical school). It would never happen anywhere else. But it happened here, in our government. And no one cares. Guess what? Those families care. If your sister had been shot in the head last month and you were waiting for the final word, you would care. But all the city cares about is covering up the fact that Ackles was caught in a lie. "There will be no interruption in services" and all that BS. His entire office stopped running yesterday, and he had no comment yet again.

Brizzi and crew ask Ackles to elaborate on Plan B or C. Ackles says he's looking at some people. No, he isn't. Roland Kohr in Terre Haute said in no uncertain terms in October that he would not clean up after Marion County's mess. You might want to ask him why he has changed his mind. Perhaps no one has even spoken to him. Ackles offered positions to Pathologists in Muncie, Martinsville, Lake County...they all said no. He has no one in the wings. The city made Radentz bail him out again today. Radentz has been asked to practice Medicine in a way that is unheard of in any specialty.

Let's just say Carter gets her license. She steps in and is faced with a cooler filled with bodies this weekend. She is the only path on staff. Autopsies take 3 hours. With 3 tables going, there has been as many as 9 autopsies going at the same time that day. Joye will be alone. She'll never make it. And once they get past that part, there the small issue of the pending cases that Radentz couldn't close in time. As of today = 170. Avg number of new cases per day = 3. Per week = 21. That's almost 70 new cases before 12/19. Add the 170 to that. It's mind-blowing. They'll never make it. Brizzi's insistence of filing charges within 72 hours will be about all he gets done on those cases. The reports will never be looked at again.

Brizzi knows it. The Mayor knows it. The Coroner knows it. Legal knows it. But who cares--they're just dead people. Your family doesn't matter. Indy leadership says: get over it.

Anonymous said...

The last post was shockingly uncomfortable. Thank you.

A friend's mother died in early November, after a long bout with cancer, and her body was taken there. The family suspects she was given the wrong medicine in the hospital, because she was making a recovery. She was under 60. They met with or called Dr. Ackles and he assured them he could have answers to their questions. That was a month ago.

A great many deaths are, sadly, expected and, therefore, somewhat routine. If your 94-year-old grandmother died of heart failure, I doubt a full autopsy is needed, unless that's the law.

But if one family is waiting for news like my friend's family, it's one too many.

The Mayor and City-County Council have some influence with the Coroner. Flood them with calls and e-mails. The Council, ultimately approves his budget.

I'm serious. They do pay attention to volumes of communication.

Anonymous said...

Let Dr. Ackles now how he's or call him at (317) 327-4744. Better yet, give him a buzz at home (317) 924-4672 and see if he will give you any answers. He sure as hell won't give any answers to the Mayor, Prosecutor, his Deputies, or the tax-paying public who put him there.

Anonymous said...


I know it's the guys name but am I the only one that sees the irony in that?

Anonymous said...

Don't foget his cell # 797-3201.

Anonymous said...

Ask Carl Southern's family how shockingly uncomfortable the last few months have been for them. Ask them how it felt to find out that their husband and father was cremated without their knowledge. The Coroner's Office never offered them an explanation. Ask IPD how easy it has been to try to investigate a homicide without a body or evidence (other than a tape of Southern being led from an apartment building at gunpoint, but who's paying attention to that anyway). If you die in Marion County after Friday, a criminal who has been out of work for four years will be conducting your autopsy. Your file, including all of your health information for your entire life, along with all of your family's health information, will be accessed by people like the janitor. who has a key to the restricted Pathology area and locked filing cabinets. People who are not Forensic Investigators on your case will rifle through your autopsy records, copying what they would like to keep for themselves. Here is a conservative list of items contained in your case file: your health history, including any diseases that you would prefer your coworkers did not know about; your lifestyle, your social security number and address, your wallet contents including credit card numbers and cash, your hospital records, police reports, arrest records, information on your family, your education, your residence, etc etc etc. Carl Brizzi might want to check into how many case files are missing from those cabinets already. Your body will lie in the cooler for days or weeks, because Joye Carter (if she gets licensed) will not have any way to get her head above water to get to all those bodies.

Thank You Bart Peterson! Thank You Carl Brizzi! Thank You Julia Carson! Thank You Mitch Daniels! Thank You Kenneth Ackles! Thank You Alfarena Ballew! Thank You City Legal! We really feel much safer now. Whew.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1013: I'm sorry to hear about your friend's mother, but, unfortunately, the case appears to be more civil than criminal. Thus, MCCO does not have absolute jurisdiction. However, I assume Dr. Quackles is referring to a toxicology analysis to determine what meds/drugs and their respective metabolites were found in her system, and this does take time. Sadly, though, Dr. Quackles does not know how to interpret such reports and actually calls them "toxic" reports. He also calls a post-mortem exam an "artopsy". He has never seen an autopsy and is afraid of dead people. I don't even think, and I'm not alone on this one, that he can read. Honestly. So, as for your friend's family getting answers from him, forget it. If the deputy that took the case is half-way good, you may get an answer from him/her. Best wishes to that family in their time of need. And for clarification, expected deaths of natural causes are not investigated by MCCO, no matter the age of the decedent.

Sir H: You're absolutely right: Dr. Quackles will not resign. He is far too arrogant to let bad publicity affect him. He is, after all, the coroner of Marion County.

Anon 850: Well said.

Consider this: Dr. Quackles doesn't resign. Dr. Carver gets her license. Investigations are compromised on the part of the deputy coroner, the pathologist, or even both. Murderers are not convicted. Essentially, the county goes to shit and public safety is at a huge risk. "Cats and dogs living together, it'll be mass hysteria!" (From Ghostbusters)

Now let's take a look at the timeline. Dr. Quackles has been in office for almost two years. For about half that time, John Linehan was the Chief Deputy. During that first year of Quackles' term, there did not seem to be any major problems. The office ran smoothly, investigations were performed, autopsies conducted, and death certificates accurately issued. In the second year of Quackles' term, Linehan was fired and Alfarena Ballew replaced him. That's when everything began to decompose, pun intended. I do not need to detail all the things that have gone wrong since then. My point is this: Quackles managed to royally screw things up in one year and he still has two years left in his term. And, to the best of my knowledge, he will run again. What if he does get re-elected? Do not be fooled, anything is possible. He's been allowed to get this far, hasn't he? Just something to consider...

Anonymous said...

Believe me, 12:38, the Democratic Party realizes what it did when it nominated Ackles. He will not be renominated.

It's a unique problem for Dems. They're new to power, and they didn't expect this kind of uproar or incompetence. Honestrly, as reported here before, no one thought we'd win those down-ticket offices in 2004. No one.

The Dem leadership's first clue should have been listening to their candidate for more than two minutes. He can't string together two coherent sentences, and he's a freaking chiropractor, for crying out loud. Nothing against those who choose to enter that profession, but there's a reason most medical insurance pays reduced or no benefits for chiro care: it's usually worthless. Chiros aren't admitted to most hospitals, either.

He's afraid of corpses and you suspect he cannot read? OMG, what have we wrought?

The crime rate angle is our best bet. Flood the council members and mayor with complaints about delays and backlogs, and their effect on pending criminal cases. Their antannae are sharply tilted upward, on the crime issue, thanks to last summer's hell. That issue has traction.

Forget calling "Dr." Ackles. And quit hoping the local media will do much about this case other than report what's already reported elsewhere. If you're looking for original thought in the media here, you're in for a huge disappointment.

This is our job. We have to make these complaints. Calmly, collectively. The post earlier, about the numbers of delays and the consequences, should be Exhibit A.

And, my heart continues to go out to those who work there. I wish I could offer you income so you could leave that environment. Stressful workplace is a huge problem.

Say, there's an angle, AI...threaten the county with a "hostile work environment" lawsuit. Those three words drive fear into the hearts of most employers these days. (Justifiably so) If this clown's actions are not creating a hostile work environment, I don't know what is.

Anonymous said...

It's a unique problem for Dems. They're new to power

Excuses, excuses. They can't handle the "power" once they get it.

Never send a 'Rat to do a Pachyderm's job.

Anonymous said...

Anon 135: There are two lawsuits out there against MCCO. One includes a hostile work environment complaint, the other encompasses a sexual harassment complaint. So, although I am not the filer, it is happening. Regardless, I'm open to any monetary handouts you feel obligated to provide. J/K :o)

In the meantime, I agree that these issues are going to fall by the wayside unless we keep pressing them. Indystar can only report so much, and with the police merger coming up...who knows?

I/we are open to suggestions as to how to keep the pressure on.

Anonymous said...

Keep the pressure on by contacting the mayor's office,specifically deputy mayor John Dillon, who interfacesd with public safety agencies.

And the City County Council: all four at-large members and your district member.

They will listen.

Anonymous said...

It is only going to get worse after FPA of I leaves. I promise. Some dedicated employees have not been asked to stay on while others who care very little and know very little about health protection laws will be running the show.