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Posted by Ken Kurtis on September 20, 2006 at 14:45:58:

In Reply to: Re: Re: If I should die while diving posted by Kendall Raine on September 20, 2006 at 14:16:54:

Kendall wrote: "Coroners? Generally not very helpful and certainly focussed on a narrow definition of "cause of death." Not on a broader set of conditions which might have lead up to the COD."

That is not at all true here in LA and, since that's who will be doing this specific one, it's sort of a slap in there face (unitended I'm sure) to dismiss them so cavalierly.

Just so you all know, in LA the Coroner Chief of Investigations is a certified, active diver. His chief deputy investigator (who's usually the one assigned to scuba fatality cases) is a certified, active diver. (All the Sheriff's ESD guys, who do the initial investigation, are also all certifieid divers.) They have all reistsed, over the years, attemtps to cut the budget for issues that might be raised and learned in connection with diving deaths.

The Coroners have really tried to get away from just "drowning" as to the cause of death and get to the "why" behind the drowning. To do so, the equipment is tested (by Bill Wright & myself), witnesses are contacted and talked to (by Sheriff's ESD, Coroner's Investigators, and myself), and part of the official report is a report and analysis of not only the state of the equipment, but also what we think went wrong and why, along with any suggestions/comments.

The hope is that by providing good information, we can provide some closure to family, provide some education to the diving community, and allow all to move forward from the incident.

FYI, these reports (not just what I write but the entire Coroner's report) are part of the public record. Once a report (which has many parts to it) has been finalized, you can request it through the Coroner's Office. We are also working with the Chmaber to try to figure out a way to make these readily available to the diving public. (Siome of it involves redacting names and stuff.)

On top of that, for the last two years (and I assume we'll do the same next year) we have presented "Why Divers Die" as a panel discussion at the Scuba Show where we discuss actual cases, tell you what we found/learned in hopes of the diving public learning from the information we present.

So I think to simply paint specifically the LA Corner's Office as one who is simply trying to wrap these things up as quickly as possible does them a great disservice. A lot of work and effort goes in to this and we do our best to share this with the public in a factual, nonjudgmental manner.

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA

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