Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Michael White Drowned: Autopsy

Some news about the Michael White death near Daegu — police have concluded the 14-year-old drowned in a pool at the sauna:

Police have concluded that the cause of death of a 14-year-old American boy, Michael White, who was found head down in a pool at a sauna in Gyeongsan on May 10, North Gyeongsang Province, was through drowning.

Police Tuesday said they found no evidence negligence on the part of sauna employees or poor emergency treatment of medical staff. Gyeongsan Police Station said it received an autopsy report from Busan National University’s Medical Jurisprudence Lab stating “his bronchus, stomach and duodenum were full of water, which means he drowned.”
According to the report, Michael’s heart was apparently larger than that of a normal adult. The weight of his heart was 460 grams, much heavier than that of a normal adult ranging between 300 and 350 grams.

“Michael’s heart was apparently at risk of cardiac arrhythmia. We suggest a sudden irregular heartbeat occurred while he was in the bathtub which paralyzed his heart,” said Lee Geun-woo, chief investigator of Gyeongsan Police.

The report contradicted his mother Stephannie White’s allegations that the negligence of sauna workers and paramedics’ poor performance were behind the death of her son.

The odd thing is, according to Ms. White, the police released the autopsy results to the media before they gave them to her. From her email:

I just received a call from a reporter from **** Times. They wanted my opinion of Mike’s autopsy report. Apparently it was released to the press before it was given to me, (mother) or embassy.

I told the reporter no comment, as I had not seen the report and could not comment about something I haven’t seen yet.

Also by Ms. White on a Daves ESL forum (sorry, don’t know the link):

Apparently if I want a copy I have to go file a claim for it… but it’s given freely to the Korean Press. A case number wasn’t even assigned to Mike’s case until 23 days after his mysterious death. A case number is needed to request the files. It was only after the embassy requested a case number, that the police assigned one to the case.

I have no idea what’s going on. I just relay what I’ve read.

Michael’s funeral will be held on June 28. More details when plans are finalized.

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