By Bob Stone
Benjamin Crump hired world renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden to perform a second autopsy. Yet Crump also hired Shawn Parcells to “assist” Dr. Baden; when Dr. Baden requested no such “assistance.” So what does Shawn Parcells have to offer Crump that Dr. Baden doesn’t?
If you go back and check Dr. Baden’s comments during a press conference regarding his second autopsy of Brown, you’ll notice that he wasn’t the one who did most of the talking. And when he did speak, he said nothing controversial or contradictory of the official autopsy performed by Dr. Mary Case. In fact, Dr. Baden and Dr. Case have expressed nothing but the highest mutual respect for each other.
Since Benjamin Crump had a story to sell the media regarding the shooting of Michael Brown, he leased the respectable name of Dr. Baden and paid Shawn Parcells to spin the autopsy findings on national television.
Shawn Parcells apparently makes his living exaggerating. Parcells claims he is qualified as a “forensic pathologist assistant and medical investigator.” Dr. Erik Mitchell, a board-certified forensic pathologist with Kansas City-based Frontier Forensics Midwest said:
That is a degree that does not exist in my knowledge, except in the mind of Shawn Parcells…You cannot claim the title, because it is a formal, licensable position. You can assist somebody; in this way I can say, for instance, I have paid my taxes, so I am an assistant President of the United States…He has none of the qualifications that are required. He has experience as a morgue technician, somebody who would move bodies around, clean up after an autopsy
Parcells admitted he has no certification as a pathology assistant, but says his qualification comes from experience. “I worked there as a forensic assistant for about a year. And if I remember correctly that was 2005 to 2006. That was under Dr. Young,” Parcells said.
Dr. Thomas Young, the former Jackson County Medical Examiner, responded:
[Parcells] hung out at the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s office but was not trained by me.”…. “He has been representing himself in a way that is not appropriate by giving forensic pathology opinions when he is not qualified to do so.
The chief medical examiner of St. Louis County, Dr. Mary Case, put it this way:
“I can tell you absolutely that I find what Parcells does to be abysmal,” Dr. Mary Case told The Daily Caller…. Case, along with a number of other medical examiners and pathologists have been heavily critical of Parcells. “He is doing forensic autopsies which may send someone to prison, and he is not a physician much less a forensic pathologist,” she told TheDC, adding that forensic pathologists and medical examiners throughout the U.S. “are shocked by this man and how bold he is to do what he does.” “No one stops him,” she said. St. Louis Medical Examiner SLAMS Brown Family Hire, August 21, 2014
There have been recent reports in the press that forensic technician Parcells has no credentials or accreditation, and misrepresents his experience. Following allegations that Parcells did the autopsy alone, a doctor/blogger in PathologyBlawg.com interviewed Parcells. Parcells affirmed that he alone examined the body on 8/15 before it was embalmed; Dr. Baden was not yet in Missouri at that time. Two days later, after the body had been embalmed, Dr. Baden performed the second autopsy.
There is a big difference between the examination of Michael Brown’s undisturbed body during the first, legally-mandated autopsy, performed by the St. Louis medical examiner, and the follow-up examination done days later on his washed and embalmed cadaver. In the embalming process, preservative fluids are injected into the arteries and organs using a sharp tool called a trocar. The trocar pokes holes in the organs. The preservative fluid in the blood vessels pushes the blood ahead of it to the site of any injuries. These changes, which we call “embalming artifact,” can exaggerate the size and shape of injuries.
Even if Dr. Baden, a board-certified forensic pathologist, looked at photos of the injuries taken prior to the embalming, the orientation and quality of the photos taken by the technician would influence his interpretation of the findings. Autopsy means “see for yourself”—and there is no substitute for seeing the undisturbed body for yourself if you are going to be offering opinions with legal ramifications.
And tonight on CNN, Elizabeth Cohen exposed Shawn Parcells on national television for the fraud he really is:
(CNN) Parcells became an overnight media star in August when he assisted in an autopsy commissioned by Brown’s family. He appeared time and again on major media outlets as a forensic pathology expert. He said over the years he’s testified in court dozens of times in several states.
But an investigation by CNN that included interviews with attorneys, law enforcement and physicians suggests Parcells isn’t the expert he seems to be. (Full CNN Story Here)