At this stage, no serious observer of events in
Beyond the DNA, those of us without medical knowledge must rely on the experts. Fortunately, a new and comprehensive site has recently appeared. Forensics Talk is the work of Kathleen Eckelt, a certified Forensic Nurse Examiner with over 30 years of clinical nursing experience. She’s also president of Harford Medlegal Consulting, which specializes on issues relating to forensic nurses.
1.) The accuser’s injuries are inconsistent with the attack that she described.
The accuser alleged a violent, 30-minute, gang rape, in which she was kicked and hit; and in which she scratched her attackers. Eckelt
Finally, Eckelt all but dismisses insinuations that the accuser might have been given a date rape drug. She reports, “Although each person can react differently to any drug, the amnesia produced by these drugs is pretty acute. It’s not usually a matter of a person's memory just being a bit fuzzy. It’s usually a matter of not remembering anything at all past that first drink.” The accuser, of course, alleged no such thing.
I wonder how many experienced SANE nurses New York Times reporter Duff Wilson spoke to before publishing a front-page article implying that diffuse edema is consistent with blunt force trauma and a date rape drug could have been used?
2.) Sgt. Mark Gottlieb’s “notes” lack procedural credibility.
The Times has reported that Gottlieb produced a typed set of notes, many months after the fact, that were not corroborated by any contemporaneous handwritten notes. The many inconsistencies between Gottlieb’s document and the pre-existing case file included his recapitulation of an alleged conversation with Levicy on March 21, in which Levicy allegedly described the accuser’s injuries in terms far more severe than she documented in her report.
According to Eckelt, if Gottlieb’s notes are true, then Levicy was negligent. “Everything is supposed to be documented,” she notes, “at the time of the exam. Now I've had detectives call me up and ask questions. However, it’s usually been during, or right after, the exam and the answers to questions about any evidence or trauma is already in the chart. I always document it as I observe it.” Indeed, “in the medical field, whether written by physicians, nurses, physical therapists, or nursing technicians, the standard protocols for our documentation are all the same. We’ve all been taught that, according to the courts, ‘If it’s not written, it’s not done.”
Eckelt has other reasons for suspecting that Gottlieb’s reminisces are fictional. Indeed, the sergeant has a reputation in
After reading of Gottlieb’s version of events, Eckelt writes,
I was just floored with that statement and really question it. The standard protocol for sexual assault victims is to provide a private room, preferably locked, in which to do the exam . . . We do not have hospital personnel walking in and out of the room during an examination. That simply isn’t done. We maintain strict privacy for our patients and control over all evidence. Once an exam is finished, we call security and have the evidence locked up until the detective can pick it up. Never would we allow someone, especially a male, to just walk in to get supplies or anything else and I can’t imagine any other SANE nurse allowing it either.
In any case, Eckelt argues that “standard protocol” dictates a SANE nurse-in-training—like Tara Levicy in this instance—“must have another experienced SANE nurse, or a physician, in the room with her during the whole exam, so that she can be evaluated and later certified to perform exams on her own.” Moreover, this observation must be documented: “the supervising SANE nurse’s (or physician’s) name should have been written on the standardized examination form. If there is no name written there, then that means there was no one supervising the new SANE nurse ‘in training.’”
Who supervised Levicy during an examination that Gottlieb’s notes describe as having lasted several hours?
At this stage, I suppose no one should be surprised that the procedural irregularities in this case dated from its inception.