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Southwest Life
Shannon Mullane
Position: Herald Staff Writer
Phone Number: (970), 375-4584

Cause of mobile home fire that killed La Plata County man is unclear

39-year-old resident died from smoke inhalation

Durango man found dead in Hermosa Creek identified

Cory Ireland, 33, was a husband and father of three

I’m 70 now, and it’s time to make a change

A 60th birthday is a major milestone. To honor the occasion, I quit dying my hair. My first gray hair appeared in high school, and I took it in stride. At 30, I convinced myself m...

Abusive surgeons can compromise patients’ health

I’ve known surgeons who were censured for verbally abusing subordinates, belittling other doctors and throwing surgical instruments. I’ve stood toe to toe with more than one. The ...

Should police officers attend autopsies?

A medical examiner’s controversial, and reportedly incorrect, testimony in a murder trial has re-energized the long-standing argument about whether police officers should attend autopsies. ...

Haunted by a mistake made 30 years ago

Thirty years ago, as a newly minted pathologist, I made a bad mistake. I had joined a group of doctors who, in addition to serving as medical examiners, ran a private laboratory w...

Working alone can leave one blind to possibilities

I did La Plata County’s forensic autopsies as a solo practitioner for 12 years, a risk many forensic pathologists would be loath to take. Most forensic pathologists view solo prac...

What to do when a man crosses a line?

Almost 40 years ago, while I was a student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, a faculty member made unwanted advances. He began by complimenting my clothes and app...

Wrong or false? The difference holds consequences

When doctors disagree, one opinion is incorrect. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to decide whether an incorrect medical opinion is simply wrong or, in the legal sense, “false” ...

For medical examiners, veterans’ death certificates are complicated

America owes military veterans a lot – perhaps enough to fudge their death certificates a little. Most medical examiners have been asked by the next of kin of a deceased veteran t...

Forensic pathologists in short supply

One of forensic medicine’s biggest failings is its inability to meet the needs of defense attorneys and their clients. Forensic pathologists are in short supply. We’d need almost ...

Expert intuition: Sometimes, Sam sensed a murder

Sam Johnson, my chief forensic investigator in Florida, was remarkable. Sometimes, he just knew. He couldn’t say how he knew. He couldn’t explain what he looked for. But Sam was o...