Our Nation's Hidden Elderly Deaths Scandal

Last week we reported about the shockingly deficient numbers of hospitals that do not conduct autopsies, and, as a result, miss important diagnostic and/or treatment lessons from the results.

In a related and equally disturbing reality, when elderly people die under suspicious circumstances, the reasons often remain unknown because autopsies are seldom performed on people older than 65. The investigative report by ProPublica and PBS Frontline says that no one knows how many of these suspicious deaths have been ascribed to “natural” fatalities, and how many, in fact, were the result of elder abuse or mistreatment. The report quotes a U.S. Department of Justice researcher describing the situation as “a hidden national scandal.”

The system of investigating the cause of suspicious deaths is compromised by insufficient funds, a shortage of trained medical personnel and lack of national standards that, the writers conclude, sometimes have “helped to send innocent people to prison and allowed killers to walk free. When it comes to the elderly, the system errs by omission.”

Please see full article below for more information.

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