go back to part 5

THE WITNESS: Anyway, go ahead.


Q Now you saw that Inside Edition show that Dr. Wood appeared on; correct? A Yes.

Q And you recall from that show that Dr. Wood said that she thought that Lisa McPherson had gone without liquids from five, she said, to ten to seventeen days. Do you remember that statement or one like it?

A The exact particulars -- I mean, if that's what you say she said. I remember seeing the thing and, yes, there was some kind of statement like that.

Q Well, here's what the -- the transcript says -- the reporter says, "Five days, you think, she went without liquids."

"Dr. Wood": "I think five to ten is reasonable; it may have been seventeen"; that's her statement.

Now my question to you is, did she -- did Dr. Wood discuss that conclusion with you before she went on Inside Edition?

A No.

Q Can a competent, well-trained medical examiner like yourself predict how long someone went without water before they died?

A I can't.

Q You cannot?

A I can't.

Q And did you tell Dr. Wood, at any time while you were employed in the medical examiner's office, that you believed that Lisa McPherson had gone without water for any specific period of time?

A No. No. I can't determine the specific period of time.

Q "Specific period of time"; is that what you said?

A Yeah, I can't tell you that.

Q Okay. Now did Dr. Wood ever ask you to reach a specific conclusion with regard to the manner of death or the cause of death? Did she ever ask you that?

A No. No.

Q Or did the police ever ask you that?

A No.

Q Did the police ever tell you what their theory was as to how and under what circumstances Lisa McPherson died?

A To the best of my recollection, you know, I don't recall anybody specifically coming over and telling me what they thought the situation was. I think that there was an expression, again, informally, of frustration, but, no, I don't recall.

Q What kind of frustration?

A Well, they -- okay, and, again, to paraphrase, and, again, just from what I roughly recall, and I can't name people or names or whatever, but I think that they felt that they weren't getting information they felt they needed.

Q From the church?

A Yes, and it may be also -- and, again, you've -- well, okay. I'll stick with the question.

Q Where was the information not coming from, as you understood it?

A Well, certainly not from the church.

Q Any other source?

A I think I told you before, I had not seen and was not aware of the -- of what I would call a hospital report from New Port Richey and if it were available, I didn't know of it. I mean, do you understand what I'm saying?

Q Yes. I don understand.

Have you ever been interviewed by the police?

A No.

Q Have you ever been interviewed by the -- somebody from the state attorney's office with regard to your findings?

A No.

Q -- or the police. Have you ever --

A No.

Q Now in addition, during this Inside Edition show, Dr. Wood made the following observation: Quote, I spent some time in court, as you can imagine, and so I'm very careful with my wording, and my wording would be this: From the time that Lisa McPherson died backward twenty-four to forty-eight hours, she was unconscious.

"Reporter": "Comatose unconscious?"

"Dr. Wood": "Yes."

Now do you remember seeing Dr. Wood say those things in the Inside Edition show?

A That was some kind of thing she said similar to that.

Q Now can a competent medical examiner, well-trained, accurately predict the level of a person's consciousness before death from conducting an autopsy?

A I'm going to answer that by just simply saying that I can't and --

MS CARLUCCI: That's an answer.


Q Do you know of anybody that can?

MS CARLUCCI: Yes or no.

THE WITNESS: Not that I know.


Q Okay. Now prior -- at any point in time, did you discuss with Dr. Wood her statement that or belief that Ms. McPherson had been unconscious in a coma for a period of time?

A No.

Q And you never said anything like that to Dr. Wood, I take it; right?

A No.

Q For someone or for you to have -- to draw a conclusion like that, would that be pure guesswork?

A I wouldn't say -- I wouldn't say things in that manner, number one; number two, if I were concerned about something, I would give a range; and number three, you know, I'd probably have to get some -- I mean, just me -and this is not saying anything with regard to some other doctor -- but I don't feel that I have, as a pathologist -- I'd probably have to talk to a clinician and find out their -- their observations with regard to caring for patients. I don't care for live patients, see, and it -- I -- that's just it.

Q Did you find anything in your autopsy that would allow you to determine the level of consciousness of Ms. McPherson twenty-four to forty-eight hours before her death?

A No.

Q Okay. Now Dr. Wood also pronounced on the Inside Edition show that Lisa McPherson had cockroach bites on her body. Do you remember a reference to that in either watching the show or reading some of the media following the show?

A Yes.

Q Okay. Now did you conclude from your autopsy Protocol --

A Excuse me, this is not my autopsy Protocol.

Q Well, did you conclude from the autopsy or did you determine in the autopsy that Lisa McPherson had cockroach bites?

A No.

Q Did you discuss, at any time, with Dr. Wood cockroach bites in relation to Lisa McPherson?

A I don't recall it, and --

Q Do you know of any situation in which a cockroach has bitten a living active adult?

A Active?

Q Yeah.

A I don't know much about cockroaches, so I can't -- but, I guess it's possible.

Q Do you know what a cockroach bite looks like?

A I know what animal activity looks like, quote, unquote.

Q Do you know how Dr. Wood could say such a sensational thing on nationwide television?

A I didn't tell her what to say. I didn't tell her what not to say. I didn't --

MS. CARLUCCI: Do you know or don't you know? THE WITNESS: I don't know.

MS. CARLUCCI: Thank you.


Q Now in your -- in the protocol that's here -- you know, and why don't you take a look at it -- on the bottom of -- in the Extremities section --

A Hmm-hmm.

Q -- you -- let's just say it is described that there are several crusted confluent dark brown lesions consistent with, quote, insect "slash" animal bites, end quote. Do you see that?

A Hmm-hmm.

Q Now you were not diagnosing an insect bite or an animal bite in the autopsy Protocol; is that right?

A No. No. That -- see if you read that, that says "consistent with."

Q That's what I'm asking you.

A It doesn't mean absolute.

Q Okay.

A I mean -- okay. Go ahead.

Q What you saw would also be consistent with an abrasion, as well, wouldn't it?

A Yes.

Q It would be consistent with a scratch and scabbing.

A Yes.

Q Okay. You did not make a determination that there were any actual insect bites, regardless of what kind of insect bites, on Lisa McPherson; is that right?

A That's right.

Q Now on the Protocol --

A Yeah.

Q -- okay? -- if you go to the Head and Neck -A Under Dr. Wood's Protocol; right?

Q Right. If you go to the --

A Okay.

Q -- to the Protocol, it says, in the first sentence of Head and Neck, "One quarter inch drying abrasions are present at the tip of the nose." Do you see --

A Hmm-hmm.

Q -- and then it says, "Crusted blood is present at the nares."

A Hmm-hmm.

Q Now are the drying abrasions and blood on the nose, which were observed during the autopsy, are those also consistent with an intubation and CPR that she received at the ER?

A That's -- I can't rule that out.

Q Okay.

A I --

Q So it could have --

A Yeah.

Q -- is that right?

A Yeah.

Q You are aware that she was intubated.

A Yeah. Yeah.

Q Okay. Now --

A As I think I said once before, you can put different things under different areas and it may prove -- you know, sometimes it can be arbitrary as to where you put something.

I'm sorry, go ahead.

Q Okay. Now you also note, or somebody notes, Crusted blood is -- I mean "Crusted blood dried material is present within the mouth, on the lips." Do you see that?

A Let's see, "Crusted brown dried material is present within the mouth, on the lips", yes.

Q That might also be consistent with a process that went on in CPR in the emergency room; correct?

A Ordinarily, I guess I would expect dried material on the buckle; that means cheek; inside the cheeks. I wouldn't expect -- I wouldn't expect that, but I would probably have to defer that question, say, to an emergency room physician or specialist in that kind of thing.

Q What happens in the emergency room is not a gentle process.

A Hmm?

Q What happens in the emergency room is not a gentle process.

A Oh, no.

Q It can cause bleeding; abrasion.

A Oh, yes, yes.

Q Okay. In fact, when the body comes to you, it had still, in places, various --

A Yes.

Q -- things that were placed in it during the emergency room process; right? Is that correct?

A That's correct.

Q Okay. Now crusted brown material, what we've just talked about, that sort of thing is also consistent with somebody that is dead, too. I mean, you can see things like that in dead people just from the dying process. You know what I mean?

A I know what your statement is. I'm not that impressed that unless there's been a relatively long period of time between death and the first observation, that you're going to have a change in say the liquidity, or lack of it, of body fluids.

Q Well, is -- eleven or twelve hours, is that a long period of time, or thirteen or fourteen hours?

A Under preservation, which -- I wouldn't consider that a particularly long time, no.

Q Now prior to the autopsy, did you have any understanding regarding Lisa McPherson's mental status at the time of her death?

A "Mental status a the time of her death." No, I did not. No, I didn't.

MS. CARLUCCI: Let's take a break.

(WHEREUPON the proceedings were in recess from 2:38 p.m. until 2:44 p.m.)

go to part 7

return to lisa page