Scientology's Toll on McPherson Case Medical Examiner Joan Wood

Sindy

Crusader
http://www.tampabay.com/news/obituaries/article1182478.ece

I searched the site extensively to see if this had already been posted. I couldn't find it. If it has, I apologize. I don't remember seeing it here myself. It's interesting. Throw another ruined life on the Scientology bonfire.

Lisa McPherson Scientology case drove Joan Wood from medical examiner to recluse

Dr. Joan Wood once enjoyed prominence and prestige as a medical sleuth like the heroes of the mystery books she read.

As the Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner for 18 years, she conducted more than 5,600 autopsies and testified in hundreds of murder trials.

But the case she will be remembered for most is the one she botched: the 1995 death of Lisa McPherson.

Based on Wood's findings, prosecutors charged the Church of Scientology in connection with McPherson's death. Their case crumbled when, four months before trial, Wood changed her conclusions.

The decision cost Wood her reputation, her job and her Florida medical license. The fallout so scarred Wood that she slipped into a reclusive retirement.

For the last eight years, she lived in a quiet townhome on Indian Rocks Road. Her closest neighbors saw FedEx or UPS trucks delivering parcels at her home every couple of days but saw Wood only once or twice over the last three years.

She didn't even emerge to walk her schnauzer, Pepper. A male companion did that.

On July 8, Wood had a stroke and was taken to Morton Plant Hospital. She died 11 days later.

She was 67.

Hardly anyone in the life she had once occupied — not police, not judges, not even employees in the Medical Examiner's Office — knew of her death until it appeared in the newspaper a week later.

• • •

Before McPherson and throughout most of Wood's career, co-workers knew her as bright and outgoing, a woman with a dry wit who smoked filtered cigarettes and sipped decaffeinated coffee from a mug that said, "Oy, the pressure!"

"She was a wonderful woman, brilliant and so dedicated to her job as a medical examiner," said Jacqueline Martino, a former chief investigator who worked alongside Wood for 16 years.

She devoured mystery novels and saw her work as a chance to solve puzzles.

"I think she felt she was like the TV series Quincy," said ex-husband Leonard Dachsel, referring to the TV coroner from the 1970s who found foul play where others suspected none.

Said Jeffrey Goodis, her former attorney: "I think she considered herself to be speaking for people who otherwise couldn't speak for themselves."

Wood shouldered the job with poise. She answered calls at all hours, including back-to-back requests one Christmas Eve to visit a crime scene in the woods, then examine a victim in a hospital. She embraced the job's staggering workload, intense time pressures and dauntingly high stakes. A blown call on an autopsy, after all, could send an innocent person to prison or set a murderer free.

Her unflappable demeanor and command of the facts made her a formidable opponent in trials for defense lawyers.

"She was an extraordinarily good witness, I thought," said lawyer Patrick Doherty. "She was calm and matter-of-fact. In the middle of her testimony she would pause and spell certain words. She certainly felt that she was part of the prosecution team, and she clearly was."

That all ended after McPherson.

On Nov. 18, 1995, McPherson, a long-time Scientologist, was involved in a minor traffic accident in Clearwater, after which she seemed disoriented. Church members cared for her 17 days, but her condition weakened. They took her to a hospital where she was declared dead.

Wood initially attributed the blood clot that caused McPherson's death to "severe dehydration." Prosecutors charged the church with two felonies: practicing medicine without a license and abuse of a disabled adult.

The church made the case a top priority, commissioning its own studies, sending Wood thousands of pages of documents, including numerous subpoenas.

"It became very difficult," said Martino, 56. "I think she almost tried to stand alone against this behemoth, Scientology."

With a trial date four months away, Wood stunned prosecutors by changing McPherson's death certificate, amending the manner of death from "undetermined" to "accident."

Prosecutors had no choice but to drop the charges in the high-profile and controversial case. Four years of work had been wasted. The prosecutors who Wood had once considered teammates now looked at her as a pariah. She asked a chief assistant prosecutor if they could still be friends. He said no.

She resigned three months later.

"Once the medical examiner changes her opinion, it kind of makes her testimony fairly worthless," said former Chief Judge Susan Schaeffer, who would have presided over the trial. "It just doesn't sound right to be so positive and then say, 'I was wrong.' "

The ordeal was devastating to Wood. The once hard-charging woman was now brittle.

"I think it just changed her," Martino said. "And the outside criticism of people changed her."

• • •

Before McPherson, Wood's resume read like a fulfilled promise.

A local product, Wood graduated from Boca Ciega High School, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida College of Medicine.

She joined the Medical Examiner's Office in 1975 under Dr. John Shinner, then succeeded him in 1982. She was appointed to head the Florida Medical Examiners Commission.

After she left office, scrutiny began to mount over more of her decisions, notably her finding that 7-month-old Rebecca Long of Holiday had died in 1998 of shaken-baby syndrome.

Four pathologists, including Dr. Jon Thogmartin, Wood's successor, determined Rebecca had actually died of pneumonia.

Court officials tried to subpoena Wood for more than a year, but no one could find her. When deputies went to her home, she wouldn't come out.

The state dropped charges against Rebecca's father. State Attorney Bernie McCabe asked his assistants to look into other child homicide findings during Wood's tenure.

That led to the release of John Peel, who had served four years in prison on a manslaughter conviction. Wood had determined that Peel's 2-month-old son died of shaken-baby syndrome, but the review showed no signs of hemorrhaging.

In May of this year, Thogmartin gave an interview to the PBS program Frontline in which he attributed the initial findings in the Long and Peel cases to "a prosecutorial bias, I think that 'go get him' kind of thing."

Wood tried to resurrect her career with a consulting business in 2002. It lasted a year.

Wood never emerged into the public eye again.

"Sadly, the Scientology episode took its toll on Joan Wood," said lawyer Denis de Vlaming. "That was her demise. She became almost a recluse after she changed her findings."

Martino says she will never know, but suspects Wood had misgivings over the outcome of the McPherson case. "I am not 100 percent certain Joan felt 100 percent sure that she had done the right thing," Martino said.

Perhaps tellingly, McCabe and Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger declined to comment about Wood's death for this article. Thogmartin did not return repeated phone calls.

Wayne Skidmore, who was moving items out of Wood's home on Wednesday, said he has been Wood's companion the last eight years.

"I'm not going to say anything more," said Skidmore, 60. "I'm just going to protect her."

In a rare interview in 2002, one of the last she ever gave, Wood told the St. Petersburg Times that she had suffered panic attacks, lost sleep and rarely went out.

She acknowledged that years ago she had considered leaving forensic science for a career in psychiatry.

"I wish now I had," she said.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

. biography

Dr. Joan E. Wood

Born: July 17, 1944

Died: July 19, 2011

Survivors: brother Dr. John Wood.

Service: To be arranged.
 

I told you I was trouble

Suspended animation
That is a tragic story.

What a waste of a lovely lady, she sounds as if she was fabulous (pre the spiteful cult ruining her).

When will it all end?

Thanks Synth (I hadn't seen anything on this).



:bigcry:
 

Pooks

MERCHANT OF CHAOS
It sure would be nice if Marty and Mike came clean and told what they did to this woman.

Not likely, but it would go along way to really exposing the truth.
 

Jachs

Gold Meritorious Patron
It sure would be nice if Marty and Mike came clean and told what they did to this woman.

Not likely, but it would go along way to really exposing the truth.

Im sure Mike & Marty know all about Hubbards killer Cloak & Dagger tech was it designed for anything else?
 

oneonewasaracecar

Gold Meritorious Patron
How horrible. Let's not forget that there are probably dozens of other stories we have not heard. Operation Normandy probably had a lot of casualties like this.
 

dianaclass8

Silver Meritorious Patron
Marty Rathbun posted this excerpt on his blog today:


http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/david-miscavige-the-cheater/

"We then used a number of the people so wowed at these events to get footholds in with judges in the Pinellas county courts – infiltrating the courts indirectly with the messages that “Scientology is good and being discriminated against”, “McPherson’s lawyers and family were bad, gold diggers exploiting Lisa’s death.”

For those who haven’t read the complete St Petersburg Times Truth Revealed articles, Lisa McPherson was killed on church premises on David Miscaviges causation".

I wonder what does this mean? I thought that she had died as a result of a botched Purif and neglect. Unfortunately Marty destroyed some of the incriminating documents, according to his own statement on his blog.

How was Lisa McPherson killed and why?
 

TheRealNoUser

Patron with Honors
It sure would be nice if Marty and Mike came clean and told what they did to this woman.

Not likely, but it would go along way to really exposing the truth.

Marty & Mike will never tell what happened on this one. They are running their own little cult now, with a following that is just as psychotic as the other one. The only difference is that the official cult is making more money. Following Hubbard's "tech" will eventually lead them down the same path.
 

Jachs

Gold Meritorious Patron
Marty Rathbun posted Lisa McPherson was killed on church premises on David Miscaviges causation".

How was Lisa McPherson killed and why?

One day the truth will be told about Lisa . Then maybe Martys nightmares can stop, i doubt Miscavige has nightmares using Rons alcoholic blot it out tech.
 

SchwimmelPuckel

Genuine Meatball
<snip> For those who haven’t read the complete St Petersburg Times Truth Revealed articles, Lisa McPherson was killed on church premises on David Miscaviges causation".

I wonder what does this mean? I thought that she had died as a result of a botched Purif and neglect. Unfortunately Marty destroyed some of the incriminating documents, according to his own statement on his blog.

How was Lisa McPherson killed and why?
Not the Purifiaction Rundown.. The Introspection Rundown and under 'Baby Watch'. And it wasn't 'botched', it was run the way it's supposed to be run. Only Lisa didn't succumb, she resisted until she died.

In principle Scientology tech says that you are 'PTS Type Three' if you get mad as hell and scream bloody murder at the registrars.. If you get so desperate that you decide to run away, blow in scientology lingo, then you can be 'judged' 'PTS Type Three' too..

'PTS Type Three' is same as Psychotic or insane, according to Hubbard.. In fact Hubbard sprays these labels around like a mad garden irrigation system. Hard to take him seriously, but scientologists do!

Unfunnily, the scientology organization considers that they can incarcerate you for being 'Type Three' regardless of your protests and kicking, and keep you under lock and guard until you come to your senses. You will need to agree that it's a great spiritual healing process to be locked up under guard.. You will be required to write a 'Success Story' about how it saved your sanity!

You will not be let out out if you do not agree!

Hmm.. I don't really get why you asked Diana? - I know that you are well versed in this 'tech', and I'd be very surprised if you don't know the Introspection RD?

Anyways.. I'll see if the docs are on the net somewhere so I can post it.. This 'Tech Bulletin' about the Introspection RD was instrumental for me in realizing that Hubbard and Scientology was dangerously insane and that I needed to run the hell away fast!

:yes:
 

guanoloco

As-Wased
After she left office, scrutiny began to mount over more of her decisions, notably her finding that 7-month-old Rebecca Long of Holiday had died in 1998 of shaken-baby syndrome.

Four pathologists, including Dr. Jon Thogmartin, Wood's successor, determined Rebecca had actually died of pneumonia.

Court officials tried to subpoena Wood for more than a year, but no one could find her. When deputies went to her home, she wouldn't come out.

The state dropped charges against Rebecca's father. State Attorney Bernie McCabe asked his assistants to look into other child homicide findings during Wood's tenure.

That led to the release of John Peel, who had served four years in prison on a manslaughter conviction. Wood had determined that Peel's 2-month-old son died of shaken-baby syndrome, but the review showed no signs of hemorrhaging.

In May of this year, Thogmartin gave an interview to the PBS program Frontline in which he attributed the initial findings in the Long and Peel cases to "a prosecutorial bias, I think that 'go get him' kind of thing."

Not to be supporting Scientology or its cause because I emphatically don't...does any one else find this part disturbing? This one guy served four years in prison over the death of his own child and appears to have actually been innocent!

That's as bad as Scientology destroying Wood, IMHO.
 

Sindy

Crusader
Not to be supporting Scientology or its cause because I emphatically don't...does any one else find this part disturbing? This one guy served four years in prison over the death of his own child and appears to have actually been innocent!

That's as bad as Scientology destroying Wood, IMHO.

Yeah, disturbing. I was actually glad to see the whole story as opposed to a "Scientology pile on" because it makes the SP Times seem balanced. There seems to be more to her story.
 

pomfritz

Patron with Honors
This is really tragic and I can't imagine the grief and pain this woman must've gone through in dealing with the cult and the aftermath.

So you "Scientologists" out there remember the tactics used against her came from Hubbard himself and were dutifully carried out by his devoted/demented followers cuz it's "us against the evil psyches". You think it would be different if Hubbard had been in charge then?

Enjoy your win and ignore the destruction that Hubbard's cult has left in it's wake well before the 80's. It hasn't been the greatest good on the greatest number of dynamics.
 

dianaclass8

Silver Meritorious Patron
Hmm.. I don't really get why you asked Diana? - I know that you are well versed in this 'tech', and I'd be very surprised if you don't know the Introspection RD?

Anyways.. I'll see if the docs are on the net somewhere so I can post it.. This 'Tech Bulletin' about the Introspection RD was instrumental for me in realizing that Hubbard and Scientology was dangerously insane and that I needed to run the hell away fast!

:yes:

Hi Schwimmel:

When I was about 10 years old my aunt became 'type 3' my mother tried to help her but it was very hard, she finally put her in the hands of the psyches and the rest is horrible history, the psyches were no better than Hubbard's Tech, in this case Miscavige's Tech...

Hubbard did not do it alone...sheesh! I have been reading postings from people who allegedly knew things about Hubbard, like that he was on drugs or this, or that or the other...yet they remained silent and now they mention it 20 something years after his death and yet remained loyal to him while he was out ethics...sheesh!:duh:

I mention this because I have been exposed to type 3 all of my life for one reason or the other, but that is another story. I certainly know about the Introspection R/D of course and it does not kill, what kills is the stupidity of people who do not use common sense. And let's not start a dissertation how Scn kills..or does not kill.

The point is:

Why do I ask? Because ***Marty says that Lisa was killed*** this has to do with him being part of some crime comitted inside the CofS, and he himself posted that he destroyed the documents that were incriminating to David Miscavige thus saving him from going to jail.

Marty is out now posting a lot of information about things, but certainly nothing that leads to arrest and to the stop of the insanity that he was part of while inside the Church.

I am not in favor or against Marty, but I can see that he is not coming out clean and telling the truth, I wish that he did; and if he perpetrated more crimes than that, he could make a deal with the authorities and get a lesser penalty...but perhaps because he is not willing to sacrifice some years of his life by going to jail and save other's lives all over the world.

Instead, sadly, he is engaging on 'video games' 'who is more macho' and who spits who on the face ( I must confess that i laughed very hard when I saw the video)

And to think that some consider that he is doing a lot...is he? Not in my book. But that is just my opinion.
 
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dianaclass8

Silver Meritorious Patron
This is really tragic and I can't imagine the grief and pain this woman must've gone through in dealing with the cult and the aftermath.

So you "Scientologists" out there remember the tactics used against her came from Hubbard himself and were dutifully carried out by his devoted/demented followers cuz it's "us against the evil psyches". You think it would be different if Hubbard had been in charge then?

Enjoy your win and ignore the destruction that Hubbard's cult has left in it's wake well before the 80's. It hasn't been the greatest good on the greatest number of dynamics.

Hubbard was NOT in charge alone...all those idiots who followed him and agreed with his orders are also part of the destruction.

I am not defending Hubbard...I am just pointing that there was A LOT of contribution from MANY who are now becoming folk heroes because they are "speaking the truth" after 20 years. One of these days I am going to make a list of Hubbard's accomplices and see what happens...some sparks are going to fly.
 

Challenge

Silver Meritorious Patron
Hubbard was NOT in charge alone...all those idiots who followed him and agreed with his orders are also part of the destruction.

I am not defending Hubbard...I am just pointing that there was A LOT of contribution from MANY who are now becoming folk heroes because they are "speaking the truth" after 20 years. One of these days I am going to make a list of Hubbard's accomplices and see what happens...some sparks are going to fly.

well....I have known several "old timers" who gave up some of Hubbard's activities to their auditor. They were summarily declared SP and thrown out on their ear.
I figgered that's what would happen to ANYONE who did not follow the party line, and I was correct.
Frankly, I never thought that his drug use was out ethics. I thought that his "research" required that he know the subject that he was writing about.

The Introspection R/D has as a step on the program, an "Isolation" step.
Not everyone who is put on the Introspection R/D is put into Isolation.
There was a "pilot program" on psychosis done on the Flagship involving about 70 people, I think in 1970. Ralph Hilton knows when it was.

I have personally been involved with 2 people who were in Isolation. David Voorhies, who doesn't remember much about it, and Roxann Richards, who is now a vegetable and totally unable to care for herself. Barbara Schwartz is another, and you can read her on ARS.

There have been some true horror stories on here from some who were isolated if you care to look 'em up.

As for "accomplices", you are still promoting Hubbard tech, are you not? Hubbard wrote the R/D. Where does that put you on your own scale of "out ethics" accomplices?

O I know. " The FZ doesn't deliver the Introspection R/D."

But you do promote scn. Hubbard was the Founder. Leading anyone into praise of scn or L Ron Hubbard is to those of us who have drawn our heads out of the quicksand of scn, would thus consider you to be what you are condemning those of us who kept our mouths shut for 20 years to be.

Not everyone kept their mouth shut. There was no internet, communication was extremely limited, but there have always been stories in mags and newspapers and so forth that were given in interviews by people who got the "word out" as best they could.

I'll be watchingfor any sparks that fly my way.
Geez. I hope they can be distinguished from the BT/Cls that sometimes waft through.


Challenge
 

SchwimmelPuckel

Genuine Meatball
Hi Schwimmel:

When I was about 10 years old my aunt became 'type 3' my mother tried to help her but it was very hard, she finally put her in the hands of the psyches and the rest is horrible history, the psyches were no better than Hubbard's Tech, in this case Miscavige's Tech...<snip>
Ok, that's the 'conondrum' of this.. The 'psyches' don't know any better.. True.. Fact is that nobody knows, which is also why the promises Hubbard made about Dianetics were so 'wished for'..

But you miss my point here.. In scientology you can be a perfectly well functioning and sane human being. And then somehow become 'Type Three' from Scientology? - I've SEEN that happen a couple of times.. Scientology 'prefessional' mental therapists 'diagnosong' individuals as 'type three'.. Much more often if I count Guardian's Office 'dedicated' staff, who would call everybody insane at the drop of a hat.

Sheesh.. I don't even know if some of the people who were 'dignosed' by auditors were locked up under guard.. Such things were NOT talked about. It was bad news.. It was 'entheta'!

But get this: If you get upset as hell, maybe because Scientology has ruined you financially and keeps on demanding that you buy some expensive service. And have you convinced in your own mind that you are an 'SP' and a 'downstat' because you ran out of money. You're sorry that you scientology wife think your'e a no good dweeb, non survivor and downstat too for those same reasons and because there's no money to feed the kids either.. See, you're a 'No Case Gain' 'red tagger' who failed to quadruple your income like Ron said you would from doing Scientology..

When all that shit gets too much and you have a screaming fit and yell about Scientology having destroyed your life.. Why, then you're a 'Type Three' right there!

So my point here is this: The people Scientology labels 'Type Three' are not. They are påeople Scientology itself drove over the edge, which is not psychotic.. Erh lemme' correct that. It IS psychotic! - Only it's the Scientology Organization and this behavior that is psychotic!

<snip> I certainly know about the Introspection R/D of course and it does not kill, what kills is the stupidity of people who do not use common sense. <snip>
Hmm.. I tend to think it does.. If those scientology retards tried to lock me up someobne would probably die.. Ahrmmm.. Well, when I had to worry about that, I took care to blow suddenly and unexpected, So that the silly assholes did not get any chance at locking me up. You realize that I considered it very likely that they would.. Simply because I didn't want to be there anymore.

Why do I ask? Because ***Marty says that Lisa was killed*** this has to do with him being part of some crime comitted inside the CofS, and he himself posted that he destroyed the documents that were incriminating to David Miscavige thus saving him from going to jail. <snip>
Yes.. It's certainly a very ineresting statement from Marty..

Hmm.. I don't know the intricate legalities..

But my take on the story so far.. And some of this is speculation. No help for it.. Speculatioin is what we must have, since OSA is industriously spewing shore stories to hide the facts:

Lisa would have been gettin very ill days before she did die. Dying of thirst makes you look very very bad! - And then you die! - So reports would have gone 'uplines' about how bad she was. Some 'authority' uplines, David Miscavige? - Is a hardass unreasonable scientologist who orders them to keep her locked up. No talking! Continue the programme.. - If she refuses to drink, why, then she doesn't get any! Right? - She'll come around when she gets thirsty enough. (Here you can get some insight into the techical mechanics that makes the Introspection Rundown work!)

Lisa is still protesting.. By refusing to drink. Maybe she suspects her scientology jailers of trying to give her poison.. I would! - These assholes kept her prisoner after all, and perversely pretends to be mutes while looking at her weird.

Question is, when did Lisa die? - In the ambulance, when they drove her halfway across the state? - Or maybe the administrative bureucracy with the reports and all uplines were days in response times? - Maybe one report said: 'Lisa McPherson lookis like she might die!', and the next day: 'Lisa McPherson has died!'.. But the scientologically encumbered staffers who were baby watching Lisa didn't dare to do ANYTHING without orders from on high! - Those orders came 2 days late.

What to do!? - Since we know that Scientology and OSA are involved we can make some educated guesses.. Put Lisa in a hot bathtub to raise her body temperature to normal and fool the coroner to belive a much later time of death! - Then drive her to a hospital where a scientology doctor is ready to receive her and ask no awkward questions.

You think this is a far out conspiracy theory!? - Look at Lisa's autopsy pics. To me she looks like it's been a while since she was alive. There was mention in the autopsy reports that Lisa was extraordinarily clean! - Having been 'baby watched' for over two weeks? - Or are we to believe that Lisa had a bath on the Introspection R/D?

Allright, I think they should have let Lisa McPherson go, when she clearly didn't want to be on the Introspection R/D.. But that is unthinkable for those scientology zealots of course.

Consider Lisa'a actions at the time of the car accident. I think it's quite obvious that she'd run away at that time. Her scientology 'conditioning' making her nervous and afraid.. Lisa wanted to escape from Scientology. When she had that little fender bender car accident she was on the run.

Lisa took off all her clothes after the car accident. When Paramedic Bonnie Portolano asked her why, she said: "I wanted people to think I'm crazy, so that I can get some help!" - She didn't mean help from Scientology is my guess!

Obviously Lisa believed that the 'evil psyches' would fetch her up when she acted crazy, and thus rescue her from Scientology.

:yes:
 
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