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Crusading coroner wasn't afraid to speak her
Friday , December 1 , 2000 , DATE : [ 12/01/2000 ]
TORONTO -- The phrase has_been overused , but Dr. Margaret Milton
certainly qualified as a crusading coroner.For 16 years , she was the coroner of choice for inquests that dealt deaths among the elderly , particularly if an agency for the elderly was involved
spent much of her
lifetime working to ensure the well-being of the elderly , said Ontario's chief coroner , James Young.And she
was not afraid to say what was on her
mind.In 1982 , she resigned as medical_director of Metro Toronto's Geriatric Centre , saying that non-medical staff were interfering in medical matters. ( Most coroners in Ontario work part-time. )
Medical matters can only be handled by physicians , she
All I see is more and more administrators in a management role where the urgency is to add additional nursing staff to give day-to-day care to residents , she
Only the dedication of the nurses and other staff is staving off a disaster in some Metro homes for the elderly , she
said in a report to the board of management for the centre.I am concerned about fire , terrified about fire..She
noted there were only two staff members per floor at one home for the aged and she
could not see how they could possibly remove 80 residents in time to save a disaster.Her
most sensational inquest dealt with the death of Alexander ( Buddy ) Evans , a black bouncer who was shot and killed by Metro Toronto Police Constable John Clark after Mr. Evans hit him with a billy club during a tavern brawl.
...Dr. Milton , for her part , criticized Mr. Pinkofsky for his sarcastic , intimidating and ridiculing manner during cross-examination of witnessesShe
later lodged 19 complaints against Mr. Pinkofsky with the Law Society of Upper Canada
The inquest went on for 14 months before the jury returned to exonerate the police officer and make 33 recommendations.Among these was a recommendation for an outside police force to investigate such incidents involving police.
...Dr. Milton arrived at the coroner's office by an indirect route , having earned her PhD in biochemistry in 1952
worked in the field and raised a family before returning to university for her
was in private practice for a while before she
turned to the concerns of the elderly , joining the staff of St. John's Convalescent Hospital
in Toronto.Later she
was on staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Chronic Care
.She was appointed to the coroner's office in 1971 , and in 1974-75 , conducted research for the Canadian Geriatric Research Society
.In 1977 , she studied forensic medicine at London Hospital Medical College
.An interest in theology took her
back once more to university when she
enrolled at Knox College at the University
of Toronto.She earned her master of divinity degree in 1985