Monday, November 21, 2016

Discredited former Ontario Doctor Charles Smith: The harm he wreaked on the reputation of forensic pediatric pathology in Canada (and elsewhere in the world; HL) is at the heart of Globe and Mail reporter Wacey Leung's interview with Dr. Lisa Steele, a forensic pediatric pathologist at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, B.C...."Occasionally, after an exceptionally tragic case, she cries. And as with other forensic pathologists across the country, she bears the scrutiny brought upon their field since pathologist Charles Smith was disgraced nearly a decade ago. You have to wonder: Why would anyone do this job?"

REMINDER: "Rodricus Crawford: Louisiana;  Bulletin: Domonique Benn's exclusive News 12 investigation 'Fighting for a Father's Freedom'  will be streamed  this evening,  Monday (November 21)  at 10.00 pm local time, on;


STORY: "What motivates somebody to become a forensic pathologist," by reporter Wency Leung, published by The Globe and Mail on November 18 2106. (My thanks to my  good friend and mentor David Renegar for bringing this article to my attention. HL);

SUB-HEADING: "Performing autopsies on babies is a grim calling, but in bleak times, Lisa Steele reminds herself of the people she’s helping."

PHOTO CAPTION: "Dr. Lisa Steele is a forensic pediatric pathologist at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, B.C."
GIST: "The bodies arrive at the Royal Inland Hospital’s morgue by 10 a.m. One of several body-transport companies typically delivers the child from whichever part of B.C. they’re from.
Dr. Lisa Steele and an autopsy assistant get to work quickly. The babies are first weighed and measured. Then, Steele takes full-body X-rays to look for fractures. She takes nasopharyngial swabs, inserting extra-thin swabs into the tiny nasal passages to collect samples from back of the throat, to test for infections. When a baby dies unexpectedly anywhere in British Columbia, it is Dr. Steele’s responsibility to find out why they died. It’s a grim job and one that few are trained for or would want to do. Steele has completed autopsies on close to 80 children – some only hours old – over the past two years. For hours on each case, she inspects and dissects the body, trying to make sense of what she finds. Occasionally, after an exceptionally tragic case, she cries. And as with other forensic pathologists across the country, she bears the scrutiny brought upon their field since pathologist Charles Smith was disgraced nearly a decade ago. You have to wonder: Why would anyone do this job? For Steele, the answer lies in a printed e-mail she keeps in her desk drawer.........Pathologists are often considered doctors’ doctors. They’re the mystery-solving specialists whom physicians consult to provide diagnoses based on analyses of tissues, organs, blood and other samples. Some pathologists sub-specialize in forensic pathology, which involves determining causes of death based on the examination of corpses. And among them, an even smaller group has a special interest in the deaths of children.  The practice of pediatric forensic pathology in Canada came under the microscope a decade ago, surrounding the 2007-08 Goudge Inquiry in Ontario. The inquiry, led by commissioner Stephen Goudge, was sparked by concerns about wrongful criminal convictions for children’s deaths, based on the flawed findings of Toronto pathologist Charles Smith. A coroner’s review found Smith’s reports and testimony problematic in 20 cases, of which 12 resulted in convictions. The inquiry report, released in 2008, noted Smith, who was a pediatric pathologist at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, lacked training or certification in forensic pathology. In spite of this, he developed a reputation as an expert on suspicious pediatric deaths and conducted autopsies often in isolation without consulting his colleagues.  Among the many recommendations that came out of the inquiry were measures to help train and recruit forensic pathologists to address an “acute” shortage. It also recommended that once there was a sufficient number of trained experts, post-mortem examination in all criminally suspicious pediatric cases should be conducted by certified forensic pathologists with pediatric forensic experience.  The effects of the Goudge Inquiry rippled through other parts of the country, prompting greater oversight and accountability. Saskatchewan, for instance, adopted a policy requiring that in all cases of sudden, unexpected deaths of infants under the age of one, the autopsy is completed by a forensic pathologist. Previously, they could also be completed by general pathologists. In Alberta, all forensic examinations must be conducted by board-certified forensic pathologists. Since 2011, all completed case files have undergone peer review by another medical examiner at the province’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to double-check the findings. Still, few in Canada perform autopsies on infants. Ontario has 37 forensic pathologists who do the job. Quebec has four. In Saskatchewan, the vast majority of pediatric autopsies are completed by two forensic pathologists. In Alberta, they are done by seven. B.C.’s coroners service has forensic pathologists in Vancouver, New Westminster, Penticton and Vernon who also tackle suspicious infant death autopsies. But Steele is tasked with all of the non-suspicious cases – that is, all deaths of infants under the age of one and with no previous medical history – as well as some of the suspicious ones..........While in training, Steele was inspired by Dr. Barbara Wolf, a forensic pathologist she met who had worked on aspects of the O.J. Simpson case. She watched Wolf testify in court and found her able to give very clear descriptions, while also knowing her limits on the stand. She didn’t “jump into the realm of, you know, always/never,” Steele says, noting that even though lawyers and police want to hear absolute answers about what always occurs or what never happens under certain circumstances, it’s not so clear-cut in medicine."

The entire  story can be found at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:  Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.