In January 2016, Dr. John Marshall was found dead in the Spokane River but a year later his wife, Dr. Suzan Marshall, still doesn’t know for sure what happened to him. The Spokane County medical examiner ruled his death an accidental drowning. Marshall, who is a doctor herself (a surgeon and osteopath), believes he was beaten to death and his body was dumped into the river, based on her review of the autopsy and photos of his body.1 Our site was the first media outlet to question whether his death was what they said it was, and we have continued to ask questions regarding many doctor deaths.
Over the last year and a half, Marshall has worked hard to identify other cases where families have questioned the medical examiners’ official rulings. Earlier this year, she filed a complaint against Drs. John Howard and Sally Aiken, citing her husband’s case and three others. In total, about 10 complaints have been filed against Spokane’s pathologists.
But she has reason to question some of their “official” rulings. Just one example of Dr. Howard’s gross inability was when he ruled the cause and manner of death as “undetermined” for a woman whose body was cut in two and disposed of in two plastic bags. Really?
Marshall now says someone is retaliating against her. In June, Marshall received a letter saying that someone had filed a complaint with the Department of Health accusing her of “practicing beyond scope of practice.”2 While the state Department of Health is investigating the complaint, they didn’t tell her who filed the complaint or what specific event triggered the alleged “misconduct”.
“‘We are bound by two different laws, which may seem in conflict,’ the letter reads. ‘The first requires that we immediately notify you that a complaint has been filed. The second, the whistleblower law … prohibits us from identifying the name of the complainant until we have received a signed waiver allowing us to do so.'”3
However, as a surgeon, she feels she has the knowledge and right to give “opinions as a trauma surgeon on autopsies.” (Although she is not currently treating patients, her license is active.)
Of interesting note, one week after the news reported on the state’s investigation into Drs. Aiken and Howard, Aiken requested a “copy of all [public records requests] submitted to Spokane County by Suzan Entwistle Marshall.
We will update you as more information becomes available. We stand with you, Dr. Suzan.