The title was a bit deceptive to me. I thought this would be about what happens after a person dies. I thought you'd see how morticians drain bodily fluids and put makeup on the deceased, etc. That's not what this is.
Frontline exposes the haphazard nature of coroners' offices. At first, I couldn't relate, but one of their first examples was Michael Jordan's father. Since the coroner had no ID for him and no place to store him, he cremated him and put him in a pauper's grave, not knowing he was the father of a legend. This work shows that if coroners want to protect the police, they can label a death a suicide, rather than a homicide. Many coroners are not trained physicians, but elected officials who want to keep their jobs. Elderly abuse is also often hidden because a coroner may assume a person "died of old age," rather than looking for other causes. The work never lists "-isms," but many of the victims are Black, disabled, or elderly.
I do think now that something must be done to improve the system. However, I think most people don't die controversially, so they wouldn't know to raise these concerns. The cost of doing thorough autopsies and having high-quality storage units and equipment doesn't really come up here. In a time of massive unemployment and heavily indebted levels of government, I don't see how this tragedy could be prioritized.
I am ordering the Post Mortem DVD because I am interested in knowing why an autopsy is not done when ever a person dies. Medical science could use that information to correct many of the "traditional" medical practices that may be killing people.
Something to note, currently the number one "killer" is heart attacks, many believe they are caused by high blood pressure and high cholesterol, neither of which are a disease. Both are the bodies warning system that something is wrong in the body. High levels of adrenaline can raise a person's blood pressure. Traditional medicine prescribes a drug to reduce the blood pressure, but does nothing to find the cause of the high blood pressure. An increase in adrenaline could be caused by kidney problems and the blood pressure is increased to help correct the problem. The drugs pushed with such vigor by traditional medicine may be helping the true illness go undiscovered.
Cholesteral is used by the body to repair blood vessels. When cholesteral is high, traditional medicine prescribes a drug that impedes the body's ability to repair itself. Restrict the repair mechanism enough and a blood vessel ruptures causing a CVA or a stroke. It is amazing that far too many people die of heart attacks and strokes while they are on medication prescribed by traditional medicine practitioners. Currently there is no pill that will make us live forever.
So, I view this program as a warning of what we should be doing. The cost of doing anutopsies would be totally offset by the knowledge that can be gained and the many lives that could be saved. I give Post Mortem five stars because it indicates to me that somewhere out there, people have started to think beyond the traditional medicine and are seeking and answer of why so many people die from the same cause. When ever anyone dies, we should always seek to know WHY.
The brilliance of this documentary are seen from the beginning. As a physician, I am aware of the importance of good pathologist when a definitive diagnosis has not been arrived at in the living patient. I was completely unaware of the poor work that is often relied upon, when juries need to decide IF a crime has even occurred. I have been aware of the "innocents project", but am much more aware now of the many life ending circumstances that can be meted out to those who are truly innocent. Without the "real forensic pathologists to steer, our criminal justice system would be far more flawed than it is today. Frontline, never disappoints!
Front Line always does a great job with their research and presentations. However, I am not confident that this is still a valid training aid since so much has changed regarding availability of equipment and personnel. The 10 years plus of wars in the Middle East has produced many people capable of providing service to even rural area, which was not the case when the video was produced.