Why Toxicology & Death Certificate Reports Matter in Setting Public Policy
As a Country, we rely on death statistics to improve public policy and enhance overall health. Believe it or not the details in the toxicology and death certificates that are processed through the medical examiner’s office provide valuable information to set public policy. When this information is withheld from the public, it is a detriment to ones personal liberty. National issues, such as mental health treatments, gun control, and the right to privacy are directly impacted and become distorted when numbers are manipulated.
In 2013, when AbleChild took the State of Connecticut to the Freedom of Information review panel to force them to release Adam Lanza’s toxicology report and medical records, it was done to make the system more transparent. We knew the information in this report would be vital in determining public policy. The result was a complete defeat, ultimately setting a dangerous precedent for all American people.
Look where we are today, in the midst of a public health crisis. A pandemic gripping each State where deaths from a virus are a matter of interpretation. Who is really holding the Medical Examiner’s office and their oversight boards responsible? Let’s take a look at some reports from around the Nation, demonstrating lack of quality control, oversight, and overall accountability. Questionable data, both last year in Texas and this year in New York make it abundantly clear that we have a fundamental flaw in our system that makes public policy making virtually impossible. Who benefits from this lack of transparency? Certainly not the public.