Unnatural deaths hit high mark in Trumbull County

WARREN — The Trumbull County coroner’s office investigated 261 unnatural deaths in 2006, reaching a high-water mark in the nine years since Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk took over as the county’s forensic pathologist.

During those nine years, Dr. Germaniuk said the lowest number of cases he has investigated was 216 in 2005, and the previous annual high was 236. For the county’s population of 239,000 people, the number of cases that would be expected, statistically, is about 225, he noted.

Dr. Germaniuk attributed the current high number to the type of year the county experienced economically — with the bad news about downsizing, job buyouts or money troubles out of the General Motors assembly plant in Lordstown, Delphi Corp. and Forum Health. Bad news out of Iraq added to the misery, he noted.

Dr. Germaniuk said such troubled times often lead to higher numbers of unnatural deaths, which are the kind that require a coroner’s investigation. He said troubled times lead to more than just high numbers of suicides.

Accidental deaths also result. He described the mindset of some people as: “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, so why not take that second OxyContin with that double martini?” He added that such decisions, coupled with getting behind the wheel of an automobile, can lead to an unnatural death — such as a motor vehicle fatality or accidental overdose.

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