Phyllis Jennings of Families United for Justice is no friend of Spectrum Health Corporation after her father died under suspicious circumstances in one of the facilities managed by the local health care behemoth. As regular readers will recall, the Kent County medical examiner, who just happens to run a business on the side with Spectrum as his biggest customer, fumbled the autopsy of Jennings’s father to declare he could find no fault with Spectrum. They will also recall how Spectrum has actively worked to squelch the coverage of this story in the mainstream media.
Even so, the scandal of a medical examiner in the pay of an organization he is responsible for investigating has gotten enough attention that some members of the Kent County Board of Commissioners are seriously considering the need for a full-time public official to run the medical examiner’s office instead of a moonlighter. So, even if Jennings may never get justice for her father, her fight (along with that of the Sallie family) may soon bring about for us a long overdue restructuring of the medical examiner’s office. For this we all owe her a debt of gratitude.
However, the Grand Rapids Press appears to disagree. Jennings asked the Press to run a memorial obituary for her father on the second anniversary of his death at Spectrum-run Kent County Community Hospital. The Press refused unless Jennings deleted from the memorial her family’s promise to her late father to “never give up our fight for the truth and for justice”. There is, of course, nothing indecent, improper, or even controversial about such a statement to a departed loved one, but it looks like publisher Danny Gaydou’s Press insists upon sticking it to the Jennings family any way it can. The fact that Gaydou is also chairman of Spectrum Health is no doubt merely a coincidence.