Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

NYC Medical Examiner cannot be bothered to count the dead.

From: Freedom of Information <FOIL@ocme.nyc.gov>
To: stvcrowell@yahoo.com
Cc: outgoing agency <outgoingagency@customerservice.nyc.gov>
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 9:31 AM
Subject: RE: City of New York OCME - Freedom of Information Law Request- Correspondence #1-1-737676961 Message to Agency Head,

Good morning.   I am writing in reply to your two emails to the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner Freedom of Information Law email address in which you seek the following:
“I have noticed partitions kill taxi occupants in collisions for 44 years now. Ive also noticed that drivers with partitions are shot dead nearly every year. Cab drivers seem to be the unwilling participants in an experiment that has gone very badly. Are there no ethical barriers for these do-gooders who require partitions that kill and dont work right?”
“Can you count the number of cab drivers killed with a partition in their cab? Can you also tell me how many people have been killed hitting their head on the partition in a collision? It is illegal under federal auto safety law to trade off occupant safety for protection for the operator from assailants. It is especially upsetting when drivers are shot dead anyway.”
This Agency has no records which count the number of deaths which may have occurred in New York City involving a taxi cab which contained a partition.     
We also cannot answer your questions about “ethical barriers for do gooders” and federal auto safety law. 
Thank you.
Mimi C. Mairs
Special Counsel, Forensic Biology
Office of Chief Medical Examiner
Legal Department
421 East 26th Street
New York, New York 10016
Tel.  212.323.1903
Fax   212.323.1920

My Reply;

I think it would be a prudent idea to count how many people are killed in taxis... because of, partitions in collisions, and how many drivers are killed... despite partitions, in assaults.
Considering it is a city requirement to use partitions in taxis, it would seem incumbent on the city to keep track of these statistics.

Many trauma surgeons have become alarmed about the problem. I know of two medical studies done regarding this risk of taxi partition injury and death.

I think you should also count how many officers have been killed in rear-end collisions using a partition.

Also, count how many prisoners have been brutalized by a partition. Some might place this voluntary act of 'waffling" or " noodling" the prisoner, higher up on the list of priorities. Some don't have this on their priority list at all.

Civil rights are being denied all who are subject to injury and death in this manner. Partitions in taxis are a bad idea, in a bad endeavor to try to save drivers lives, according to current sources. Early sources (1968) said it was used in NYC cabs, in the event the passenger feared the driver - the passenger would have control of the partition window. The fact is this; if they were viable they'd be purchased without a mandate to do so. They are mandatory 

Whoever the partition is attempting to protect, shouldn't the first rule of medical ethics prevail here by 'first - doing no harm'? If partitions were injurious in collisions, but saved drivers lives, we'd call that a trade off or possibly, acceptable collateral damage. When there is no benefit to the driver, it isn't either one.

It is not deniable that drivers get shot dead WITH partitions in their cabs. The study done on partition use viability in 1997 deliberately did not count the 400% increase in cab driver murders, just the 20% decrease in non-fatal assaults on cab drivers.

Greater attention to this matter is called for by many doctors and experts. I think it is time for the Medical Examiners office to look into this.

Thank you,

Steve Crowell

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