Author Jerry Mitchell goes back to Dr. Michael Baden for a defense of Hayne. I don’t know why Baden keeps defending Hayne, but he’s just about the only medical examiner in the country who does. I’m also not sure Baden is aware of the scope of Hayne’s transgressions. When I spoke to Baden, he seemed to have a beef with the the professional organizations and their standards, which he found arbitrary. And he seemed to be reflexively defensive of Hayne because he didn’t like the idea of groups likes the National Association of Medical Examiners telling doctors how many autopsies they’re allowed to do. I do believe Baden and Hayne worked together on a couple of cases. I’d also imagine that Hayne was on his best behavior while working with the celebrity medical examiner.
Of course you can oppose a hard cutoff on the number of permitted autopsies per year and still recognize that 1500-1800 autopsies per year by one man is insanity. Baden’s quote this morning implies that Hayne was reluctantly doing all of those autopsies as a favor to the overburdened coroners and district attorneys, and that he therefore shouldn’t be punished for his generosity. That’s not what happened. Hayne actively sought out all of that business. He and Dr. Michael West scared off competitors, and put up determined resistance against efforts to impose standards on how criminal autopsies are meted out and performed in Mississippi. In fact, Hayne actually added to his caseload in 2005 by seeking yet more business in Louisiana after that state’s version of Dr. Hayne–Dr. George McCormick–passed away.
Unfortunately, Dr. Baden is fairly famous. So when his name appears in articles like these, it implies that there’s some sort of split or balance in Hayne’s colleagues’ opinion of him. There isn’t. There’s Baden, and there’s just about everyone else.