A local station in Jackson has picked up the Steve Hayne story, and managed something I couldn’t — they got Hayne to answer a few questions. There’s apparently video, but I can’t get my Mac to play it. A couple of points on the text of the report….
Currently, Dr. Hayne receives a lot of business from county coroners who are overloaded. Each autopsy he performs, Doctor Hayne is paid 550 dollars. Balko claims that’s why Hayne does so many. Hayne refutes that, saying he isn’t the only one performing the examinations from his office.
Perhaps there is more than one forensic pathologist doing autopsies in Hayne’s office right now, at the present time. But that hasn’t been the case for most of his career. Here is Hayne in a June 26, 2003 deposition in a medical malpractice case (Civil Action No. 99-0307-CI):
Q. Now how many autopsies do you in a year, please, sir?
A. In a range of 1,500 a year.
Q. 1,500 a year that you do yourself?
Q. And on top of that, you also go to Rankin county–whatever the name of the hospital is–Rankin Medical Center here?
Q. Do you go there every day or five days a week?
A. Almost seven days a week.
Q. 9:00 to 5:00 or 9:00 to 6:00?
Q. How long are you there?
A. It will vary. Sometimes half hours, sometimes two hours. It depends on what I have to do.
Q. And then you have responsibilities at a renal care facility in Jackson?
Q. Where is this?
A. In Rankin County.
Q. In Rankin County. You are head of that lab or whatever?
A. No. Medical Director.
Q. Medical Director. And you have responsibilities there?
A. That’s correct.
Q. And you do all those [autopsies] yourself? The 1,500 a year or about.
A. All myself? Well, there’s a whole group that participate in the actual performance of the autopsy. There are several dieners and other individuals that are working.
Q. A diener is a German name for helper?
A. That’s correct.
Q. But you’re the only pathologist that’s been doing those 1,500 autopsies a year?
A. Those are the ones I sign. Those are the ones I do.
Q. That you do yourself?
A. That’s correct.
Hayne is slippery on the stand. But his testimony in this case is clear. He does around 1,500 autopsies per year, and he’s the only pathologist doing them (yes, he does have assistants, but they don’t perform the actual autopsy–at least they aren’t supposed to). If Hayne is now saying he has other MD forensic pathologists splitting up his workload, that’s one thing. But I have a foot-thick stack of depositions in which he has testified. And he has repeatedly testified over a range of about 15 years that he himself performs in the range of 1,200-1,800 autopsies per year. He’s almost boastful about it.
Doctor Hayne told WLBT by phone he was tired of the attacks. Hayne says, “We will address the issue in a court of law and we will have no difficulty proving our point.”
Well, we’ll see I guess. Maybe Hayne will sue me. I’m confident in my reporting. Frankly, I doubt Dr. Hayne really wants a bunch of lawyers poking around in his records, as would certainly happen in the discovery phase of a libel suit related to allegations published about his credibility.
Finally, this passage from the Jackson report:
The National Association of Medical Examiners limits the number of autopsies a medical examiner can perform in a year to 250. After 325, that organization will no longer certify a medical examiner’s practice.
Doctor Hayne says he is certified but couldn’t remember the name of the organization when we spoke to him.
I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. Over the years, Hayne has listed a few different “certifying” organizations in forensic pathology on his C.V., none of them the American Board of Pathology. He has subsequently taken a couple of them off when questioned about them in court.